Phrazer: Provides On the Scene Translation for Healthcare Providers

Like most things in life, accurate communication is essential to effective healthcare.  Everywhere you go in the world there are people from other countries that do not speak the local language.  No matter what the reason for their presence in a foreign land, it is still important for them to be able to have quality healthcare, which can be difficult when you can’t even so much as say hello to the doctor in his language.

The people at GeaCom have taken the first step in overcoming this difficulty by developing a handheld, multilingual, medical communication system called Phrazer.  This new technology is a touchscreen device that is designed to overcome language, cultural, and even literacy barriers between doctors and patients.  You can read all of the fun numbers in their press release which can be found here, but there are two big features that make this a really valuable tool.

The first is the inter-connectivity of the device with a patient’s electronic health record.  This would allow doctors to gain an understanding of the patients medical history without much more information than can be provided by simply showing a driver’s license or passport.  That alone would aid in preventing the use of conflicting prescriptions, as well as ensuring special medical conditions are being considered during current treatment.

What really makes this device amazing is that GeaCom has now partnered with Sierra Wireless to give their device 3G connectivity.  That means that not only can doctors use this device in hospitals, but it could even be used in the field on the scene of accidents, and by EMT’s en route to a hospital.  That would provide all of the above benefits long before it would have previously been accessible.

That means that special needs could be met during the patients first contact with a healthcare provider, not just once they get to the hospital and they are able to track down your records hours after the initial accident.  Patients will be able to get the care they need as fast as possible.

I am glad to see that the amazing technology we have is being used for better things than to bring Angry Birds, or some other game, with you wherever you go.  It is devices like this that make technology worthwhile.  As more of these useful devices get developed we will find ourselves with healthcare at a whole different level than we would have ever thought possible only five or ten years ago.

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David Lynn

David Lynn


  • Phrazer looks incredible, but I’m wondering if anyone has seen a more stripped down application for simple communication between caregiver and patient. My mother in law suffers from Alzheimer’s and a natural progression of the disease causes patients to revert to their native tongue from their childhood. In mother in law’s case, this is Lithuanian. I’m in search of a translation app that would allow caregivers in her Memory Care facility to understand her when she is in pain, needs attention or care.

    I spoke to the Alzheimer’s Assoc. and they tell me this is a critical need…right now they offer a 24 hour translation hotline. This works great in emergency situations. But for everyday communication, it is impractical.

    Having an iPad or smartphone app that could translate Lithuanian to english and display it or “read it back” in English would be welcomed, according to the Alz Assoc.

    Any thoughts?

    Could the readers here direct me to a company or device or app that could affix to her wheelchair that would enable this to happen?

  • I don’t know if you actually went to the Phrazer website: but there a quite a few features that sound like exactly what you are looking for. It would be very valuable to a facility in that each device can hold over 100 different languages so they could use it with multiple patients. It also figures out the person’s native language just by listening to them. I can only imagine how much devices like this would help in these situations. I hope you are able to find something to help.

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