Ann Arbor IT Firm Helps Solve Language Barriers Between Doctors, Patients

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Eloquence Communications, an Ann Arbor-based information technology company, has solved the problem of language disparities between health care providers and non-English speaking patients.

The Language Access Solution offers patients immediate access to a touchscreen tablet device with common requests, such as questions relating to pain medication and comfort.

From there, a patient’s request is routed to an appropriate caregiver on their mobile device and a confirmation is sent back to the patient in their preferred language. Language Access Solution also has a feature that allows patients to speak with a live interpreter.

The system is customizable for hospitals and health care facilities, and operates via Wi-Fi connectivity. There is no capital expense.

“This system is empowering, reliable, and ensures more equitable, quality care that could prove life-saving (for patients),” says Dr. Lance Patak, co-founder and CEO of Eloquence Communications.

The system is based on four years of National Institutes of Health-funded research. Patak says more than 80 percent of U.S. health care facilities caring for limited English proficiency patients see higher occurrences of hospital readmissions, longer in-patient stays, and increased risk for medication errors and patient non-compliance. He says more than 65 million people living in the U.S. have limited English proficiency. 

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