Pocketalk announced that its product has become “the first HIPAA-compliant handheld translation device.” The announcement comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which inspired Pocketalk to “focus its efforts on connecting patients with their healthcare providers and serving as a critical tool for medical professionals and first responders, arming them with quick, accurate translations in the field when it mattered most,” according to the company’s announcement.

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Credit: Mariela Lucaj, @nursemariela
Credit: Mariela Lucaj, @nursemariela

According to Pocketalk, its product has the ability to “reduce non-medical costs in translation and interpretive services, and offers immediate communication that will eliminate wait times and dependency on other bilingual coworkers.”

With its launch in 2018, Pocketalk was originally designed as a travel-friendly, practical communication tool – but when first responders aboard the Diamond Princess cruise line had to quarantine in Yokohama at the start of the pandemic, Pocketalk took action. The company says it donated devices to enhance the communication between first responders and passengers, thereby reducing human interpreter exposure to COVID-19, according to the announcement. This incident, as well as the number of cases rapidly increasing, inspired Pocketalk to pivot its focus from world travelers to US first responders and healthcare workers in multilingual communities. The result was the release of Pocketalk Plus, said to be “a critical tool for medical professionals and first responders, arming them with quick, accurate translations in the field.” .

“The pandemic helped us see just how valuable Pocketalk is in the healthcare space and, to that end, we are empowered and passionate about it helping break down barriers between healthcare providers and patients,” said Joe Miller, general manager of the Americas and Europe at Pocketalk. “Studies show that patients and families with language barriers receive a fraction of the communication that English-speaking families receive from their healthcare team, and we are aiming to change that by lightening the burden on human interpreters and allowing for more relationship-building opportunities with all patients. We are thrilled to take a major step forward in fulfilling that goal via our HIPAA-compliant device, and to continue to send the message that all are welcome.”

The Pocketalk Plus has a large screen that is readable from six feet of distance, a strong speaker, and a noise-canceling microphone, the company says. Other features of the device Pocketalk says are included: 

  • Translations for 82 languages; 
  • The ability to provide audio readout in native language; 
  • Quick and easy to sanitize;
  • A camera that translates text and written words; 
  • Built-in data (no need for WiFi).

The Pocketalk Plus and other Pocketalk models are available for purchase on its website.

Source: Pocketalk

Image: Mariela Lucaj, @nursemariela, Pocketalk