Assisting and saving time in the radiology department

What happens when the translator is not available? Well, for the radiology department at the National University Hospital of Iceland, Landspitali, work continues as normal. They use Care to Translate during radiological examinations to save time, both for the patient and healthcare staff.


Landspitali is the leading hospital in Iceland and the largest workplace for employees in health care. The hospital provides specialized and general care and has the capacity of  around 700 beds. 

Gunnar Aðils Tryggvason is a radiographer and assistant manager of the radiology department that services both inpatients, outpatients and the emergency department.

“I've always been interested in technology. I actually graduated as an electrician but one day I went with my friend to an open house at the National University of Iceland and saw a booth from the radiology department. Since I was interested in all the machines I decided to go for it and register. Needless to say I liked it a lot and 18 years later I now work as assistant manager at the radiology department.”

The problem

Immigrants make up 16,3% of the population of Iceland. Along with around 1,7 million tourists each year, there’s great need for translation tools. Before using Care to Translate, healthcare staff at the radiology department partly used body language to try and communicate during exams.

“If you have a patient that does not speak a language you know, you have to use body language to try and explain what you need from them to get a good exam. For example, if you need them to take a deep breath you will have to point at them and do it yourself and hope they hold their breath long enough.”

They also tried using Google Translate, but found that it works so and so. 

“Many healthcare specified words don’t translate that well.”

So Landspitali turned to Care to Translate in hope for a better service for those who need translation when a translator is not available.  

How the app is used

There are four tablets at the department that anyone can use if they have a patient that speaks another language and they need to translate. 

“The app is sleek and simple to use. And it has audio recordings of the words, so people who are unable to read can hear the translation.”

They have found that the app works really well for the department since they usually don’t need to have deep conversations with the patients, but just need to provide them with instructions for the exams. 

The playlists have also been an appreciated feature. 

“We have made our own lists that suit us. But the premade lists in the app really gave us a good idea of how we could use it. Our most used lists are “Standard lung x-ray exam”, “CT questionnaire” and “MRI questionnaire”.

When it comes to the most used languages, it correlates with both labor immigration and the current war in Europe.

“I think the language we use the most is Polish, since we have many Polish immigrants. And since the conflict between Ukraine and Russia started we also have many refugees that speak those languages.”

Why they chose Care to Translate

Recognizing the challenge of language barriers, Landspítali started looking at translation alternatives.

"We learned about Care to Translate after conducting an extensive worldwide search for available and suitable solutions to the communication problems that arise when patients and providers do not speak the same language," Marta Serwatko, clinical engineer at Landspítali, explains.

Alongside the oncology, postpartum and gynecology departments, the radiology department then started using Care to Translate in 2022.

The result

Care to Translate has helped the radiology department at Landspitali to bridge language barriers and communicate with their patients even when a translator isn’t available. 

“We can give instructions in the patient's native language and know they will understand. That means we can do the exams without having to wait for a translator, so we are saving time for both us and the patient.”

Using the app to quickly and easily provide simple instructions and ask patients yes or no questions has been key.

“With an app like Care to Translate, you can have the app instruct the patients for you. This makes it easier both for the radiographer and the patient.”

We are happy and proud to support Landspitali and the radiology department in communication with their patients. Saving time, reducing stress and making health care more equal for all.

Want to know more?

Explore how you can use Care to Translate in radiology or mammography here.

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