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Apps that make communication easier
ARTESANO FRANCISCO CHINER joins 2.0 world and devotes its first entry to the problem both patients and professionals are faced with when going through these kinds of surgical interventions: communication.
It is important to follow the recommendations before surgical intervention, and it is essential to know how to explain all the stages in the process as well. To the possible complications we need to add a vital factor: the new nature of communication. The person who is going to undergo surgery needs to accept a partial or total loss of voice during the process or, in some cases, indefinitely. This possibility must be taken into account in advance.
Patients can find different communication methods during this stage of the process such as writing on a piece of paper, on a white board or using pictograms, but nowadays technology offers many solutions to make communication easier. However, we need to choose the most suitable technology for each patient. Thus, teaching 2.0 technologies to patients who don’t know how to use Smartphones or touch screens will not mean an improvement in their communicative process but it will be another stress factor that will be added to the many changes they have to face.
In patients more familiar with these technologies we can try different options that are available in the market, most of them being free of charge. It is important that patients try them in the devices they personally use every day – tablets, Smartphones, computers, etc.
In 2013, one of these applications was put on the market under the name of Pictorrino©. It is currently available on Google Play and it will be on Apple Store in the next months. This application allows patients who cannot speak to express themselves. It consists of a traditional pictograms screen which is taken to the tactile and audio visual domain. Besides showing through letters the meaning of the image the patient has selected, it emits sounds that the recipient of the message can listen in two different languages and without having to look at the screen (as it used to be).
It also has got a bar that is used as a visual pain indicator scale that allows ratings from 0 to 10. Users can select among 5 input/output languages (Spanish, English, French, Arabic and Chinese) and between a male or female voice. There is also a text option, where the different languages can be selected. Text and pictogram options will be chosen according to patients’ adaptability to each system. This app is easy to use and it offers the basic clauses that will allow communication.
HIPOT CNV (available on Google Play and iTunes) is another app that was created for the same purpose. It uses audio visual language of pictograms and synthesized voices, but it offers 12 languages: Spanish, Catalan, Euskera, Galician, English, French, German, Chinese, Arabic, Norwegian, Russian and Italian. It has many more options and vocabulary if we compare it to Pictorrino©. The amount of vocabulary is something positive, but it may also make using the application more difficult since users must access different levels to select more specific words. A positive aspect is its quick response button, which offers users to get out of any level to answer “yes”, “no”, or ask for “help”.
As in the previous app, HIPOT CNV allows choosing a male or female voice, but it is also possible to change the size of texts and pictograms , which is good for visual accessibility. A downside may be that only Spanish language is available for the sounds.
The apps we have just described can be used in patients suffering from speech impairment. After assessing the two of them, users can choose the one that better meets their needs. The aims of these applications are both to reduce patients’ stress and help carers, family and doctors to communicate with them.
In Artesano Francisco Chiner we know how important communication is, that is why we promote the benefits these new technologies offer.