Grant Application

Shelby Aleman, UPMC Harrisburg

Proposed Innovation

Patients who are unable to speak due to a medical condition or language barrier have difficulty communicating with their care team. They often have trouble asking about their care plan or conveying their needs.

Through this patient-centered project, an iPad application called VidaTalk™ will be purchased for use in the UPMC Harrisburg medical surgical intensive care unit (MSICU). The application allows patients with communication challenges to express basic needs, symptoms, and requests more accurately and easily. It also enables them to take a more active role in complex care conversations.

Improvements in Action

The VidaTalk application is similar to an electronic EZ Board and is available in 41 languages. Patients can communicate on iPads by touching an image and selecting key phrases to communicate basic needs. A keyboard allows patients to have more complex conversations about their care with their care team. VidaTalk also can interface with existing translation services used by the hospital’s care teams for complex care discussions with patients whose primary language is not English.

Intended Outcomes

Using VidaTalk will allow the MSICU care teams to provide resources to the most vulnerable patients who would otherwise lack an effective way to communicate their needs. The goal is to provide the best patient-centered care to those who are unable to verbalize their needs due to a medical condition or language barrier.