Jennifer Mann, M.S.
Sr. Innovation Manager

Launch Date
September 2023

In an effort to overcome language barriers and enhance equitable healthcare, HTL has collaborated with TranslateLive to pilot the use of their cutting-edge real-time translation technology.  The IRB approved pilot will assess the feasibility of using this technology in 3 specific settings within the hospital.   The project was initiated by several physicians seeking a solutions to eliminate the existing challenges associated with providing comprehensive care to patients with limited English proficiency.  They came to HTL to assist with moving this forward.

While medical interpreters play a crucial role in facilitating clinical conversations during a patient’s doctor visit, there is often a significant gap when it comes to non-clinical interactions at the front desk, check-in counters, and other ad hoc encounters while patients are seeking care. These conversations are equally vital, but given the short and somewhat random nature of them, securing an interpreter is not feasible, leaving all parties frustrated and unsatisfied. 

Following a thorough market analysis of real-time translation tools, TranslateLive’s Instant Language Assistant (ILA) device emerged as the optimal solution capable of meeting all necessary HIPAA and internal security requirements. The technology leverages a blend of open-source and proprietary machine learning-powered translation engines to deliver real-time medical translation services.

To investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of this innovative approach, a cross-functional team comprising engineers, clinicians, project managers, research coordinators, and survey experts designed an Institutional Review Board (IRB) feasibility and quality improvement study. The objective is not to replace human medical interpreters but to complement existing services by simplifying engagement in non-clinical conversations.

Initial deployment has taken place at three different sites within MGH: cardiac rehab, outpatient radiology, and the white information desk in the main lobby of MGH.

This study represents a significant step toward revolutionizing the way healthcare institutions facilitate communication with patients.  By enhancing the overall patient experience and ensuring that no individual is left behind due to language barriers we make all aspects of patient care, clinical and non-clinical, accessible to individuals with limited English proficiency.

Stay tuned for more details about results of the study.