Setting the standard for digital translation in Helse Sør-Øst

We saw that we needed something more than interpreter services to be able to communicate with the patients, explains Camilla Hasle, project leader at Helse Sør-Øst.

In an interview in Norwegian healthcare newspaper Sykepleien, Camilla Hasle, project leader at Helse Sør-Øst, describes that they have implemented Care To Translate to minimize the risk with using machine translation:

“We know that Google Translate is often used for short clarifications and questions in hospitals, but we absolutely do not recommend it”, says Camilla Holt Hasle.

"Social worker" was translated to "witch doctor" when a department at OUS searched for the word on Google Translate,  trying to explain it to a minority language patient, says Hasle. It is not just a risk of misinterpretations, but also for data security reasons that they do not recommend that healthcare professionals use Google Translate when they communicate with patients.

“We do not know where the information will end up”, says Hasle.

Needs something more than interpreter services

They are using the Care to Translate to give information, clarify and ask simple questions. It is intended to be used as a compliment to interpreters when healthcare staff talks to patients who speak a minority language. We saw that we needed something more than interpreter services to be able to communicate with the patients, explains Hasle.

“User experiences show that both patients, family  and healthcare professionals experience greater security in communication with this app. In addition, we strengthen patient safety and have a more efficient resource use, says Hasle.”

Useful in various situations

Helse Sør-Øst has made an overview of when to use which tools. In the app, there is also a guide to which tool to use in different situations.
Hasle lists various situations where they have seen that Care to Translate l is useful:

  • To inform about procedures such as blood tests, MRI and so on
  • To inform about change of time
  • In waiting for an interpreter at the Emergency Department
  • For patients in psychiatry who wake up at night and are confused and afraid.

“In general, you should not use Google Translate or similar tools, but use a professional interpreter service, says Hasle.” 

Care to Translate is now in the process of being rolled out throughout Helse Sør-Øst.

Read more about the initiative in the full article in Sykepleien (In Norwegian).