APPlying technology to assessments of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Ms Courtney  Pocock1, Dr Jill Freyne2, Ms Sally  Brinkmann1, Dr Dana Bradford2

1Western Health, St Albans , Australia, 2CSIRO, Epping, Australia

Aim: To design an iPad application to assist Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, Podiatrists and Speech Pathologists in completing basic initial assessments with patients from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Method: A user needs analysis was completed encompassing staff focus groups to identify technology and content requirements of the CALD Assist app. A five month impact analysis was conducted on eight acute wards at Western Health incorporating staff satisfaction surveys, structured patient interviews and automatic in-app data log analysis. Pre-trial data was also collected.

Results: The user needs analysis identified 194 phrases and ten languages which were aggregated and refined for inclusion in the final app. During the impact analysis, the app was used by all targeted allied health disciplines, with nine languages accessed over 32 sessions. Results indicate that 80% of staff reported that the phrase content of CALD Assist was appropriate, with 100% of staff reporting that the app was valuable and easy to use. With use of the CALD Assist app, time required to complete an initial assessment reduced from an average of 41 minutes to 15 minutes. Feedback from patients indicated they were satisfied that the app assisted with their communication.

Significance of the findings to Allied Health: The CALD Assist app supports assessment and basic care interactions between Allied Health clinicians and patients from a Non-English speaking background where an interpreter is unavailable. Its cultural specificity and ease of use adds value to the effectiveness of initial assessments and promotes a positive patient experience. The CALD Assist app has attracted significant interest from other disciplines and organisations and has the potential to be modified to meet the needs of other user groups.