AutoTriage Ten Years in the Making

The story begins in 2002 when an Emergency Physician in Southwest Ohio drew on his previous experiences as an Air Force pilot and software engineer to develop a new communication tool to help combat language barriers in medicine. Dr. Jim Huizenga, President of  Bimedical.net, says the idea of a bilingual, standardized set of triage questions just came to him one day. “If you are an Emergency Physician you have to be efficient, flexible, fast, and safe all at the same time. When a language barrier inserts itself in the middle of a busy shift, it’s hard to slow down and gather the necessary information from the patient, but you have to do it one way or the other.” Unfortunately, in a busy healthcare environment, what usually gets sacrificed when a language barrier is present is quantity and quality of information in lieu of greater time spent at the patient’s bedside.

“We developed AutoTriage to help increase efficiency by leveraging the fact that a good number of history questions can be predicted based on the patient’s chief complaint.”  The system is simple to use and only requires about 20-30 seconds of staff time to choose a questionnaire and hand the iPad to the patient.  When the patient is done answering the 40 or so important history questions, it only takes another 20-30 seconds for the staff to review a synopsis of their history. The same amount of information gathered from an interpreter would take 12-15 minutes on average, not including the time spent waiting to begin.  “Providers are going to have to either slow down and take a complete history regardless of how long it takes, or they’re going to have to use technology to save time without sacrificing quality”.  AutoTriage doesn’t replace the need for interpreters, but it is always immediately available, provides a solid foundation of information about the patient, and it sets the stage for increased efficiency when the interpreter arrives.

Merging Technology with Language Translation for the Greater Good – Reducing Life Saving Response and $$ – Amelia Rodriguez CEO Vocalink

Vocalink thrives on innovation and system wide solutions for companies marketing their products around the globe. Client’s such as Proctor & Gamble, Cintas, KAO Brands and others are always looking for better, faster, safer language solutions for their clients.

When Vocalink was first introduced to AutoTriage, “we knew we had a solution for our many hospital clients. We knew we could offer a savings of at least thirty minutes in interpreting time. Waiting for an interpreter is a big challenge for the Emergency Department’s during the patient triage phase,” said Amelia Rodriguez CEO of Vocalink. “It was clear it would help emergency physicians quickly access the conditions of not only English speaking but non-native English speaking patients with a series of questions which the patient can answers autonomously with a touch of their finger. Each set of questions pertain to a particular part of the traditional triage process. The medical history is acquired by the patient in their native language and delivered to the medical team in real time. It doesn’t get any better than that”.

Early Stage Concept to Proof of Concept to Technology Demonstrator – now in High Demand by Hospitals

Lisa Stokesbury, Sales and Business Development Manager for Vocalink has literally been working around the clock the last two weeks getting iPads in the hands of hospitals and training area emergency physicians and personnel on AutoTriage to serve the great community during the World Choir Games.

There are two primary goals with AutoTriage during this pilot program. One is to provide a language solution in the patient triage process for all the contestants while the second is to actually quantify the time savings that occurs while waiting for an interpreter in an Emergency Department. This real time data allows for Vocalink to provide their clients with a valid ROI (return on investment).

“The excitement from the participating hospitals has been amazing. We didn’t know entirely what to expect, but the high usage of the application for the first week has been overwhelming.” CEO Amelia Rodriguez adds, “with the tremendous success of this app the big question now is how are we going to get this in the hands of all the hospitals and emergency medical staff across the country fast enough as senior management is saying they want AutoTriage now. We are excited about the future growth of this product.”