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Nurses wouldn’t have to fret about experiencing language barriers with patients anymore.

Changi General Hospital (CGH) has rolled out a new phone application to help nurses communicate with patients who speak in local dialects. It has been made available to all nurses in CGH last Friday, or Nurses Day.

iCOM app is a local dialect smartphone app, which makes recommendations and performs actions by delegating requests to a category of phrases. Originally designed by nine nurses and developed with their partner, IHiS (Integrated Health Information Systems), this is a healthcare innovation project that was painstakingly created to overcome language barriers with patients.

Image Credit: Straits Times
Image Credit: Straits Times

For starters, there will be a Cantonese translation made available in its first phase. It features some helpful phrases specific to use in wards such as preparations for medication, medical assistance and nursing advice. These phrases are available in audio format too.

In practice, a nurse can select a phrase, “I will give you an antibiotic jab today”. Then, the translation begins to play, accompanied with pictorial aids for better communication. Moving forward, more languages such as Malay, Hokkien, Hakka and Hainanese will be added to the local vocabulary.

Also read: Is this Singapore’s worst mobile app ever built?

Image Credit: Straits Times
Image Credit: Straits Times

Nurses, in general, struggle to communicate with patients and they cope with this challenge by seeking assistance from their co-workers, or use simple hand gestures. With this healthcare app, it’s definitely a great tool for them to speak to patients in Singapore!

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