FAQ: The Medical Translator App


+ What is the NIH backing for Canopy?

Canopy Innovations, Inc. is the recipient of multiple innovation awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant funding as well as the prestige of being an NIH-supported initiative means that Canopy has substantial financial resources to carry out its R&D activities, access to the necessary domain expertise, and is able to apply a scientifically rigorous evaluation method to prove the product’s effectiveness.

Specifically, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is highly competitive. Its goal is to support scientific excellence and to fund projects with commercialization potential in the private sector. These federal research funds are allocated to innovative technologies that address “critical American priorities.”

+ How does Canopy Medical Translator compare with Google Translate?

Machine-generated translation technology such as Google Translate is entirely inappropriate for medicine. Real time translation frequently results in nonsensical or inaccurate translations. The British Medical Journal recently released a report on mis-translations produced through Google Translate, which was accurate only 43% of the time. Read here

+ Can I translate my patient's response?

The phrases in the Canopy Medical Translator are designed for routine, frequently encountered interactions; when a conversation becomes more nuanced or complex, the user is encouraged to engage a live interpreter, through the one-touch call button that's conveniently located on every screen of the Canopy application.

Before diving into a clinical setting with routine yes/no questions, the user can play introductory phrases such as “I will ask you some questions using this device. To answer, please nod your head for “yes” and shake your head for “no” or “To tell me numbers or dates, please use your fingers or write them down.”

The pre-translated content within the application is not a replacement for in-person or telephonic interpretation, but it is a powerful asset when those resources are difficult to access. In-person interpreters are the gold standard, but they are an extremely limited resource. Even with OPI, language resource coverage for the LEP population is grossly insufficient. If Google Translate is at the low end of the spectrum and OPI or in-person interpreters are at the upper end, this leaves a vast territory in the middle of the spectrum for a curated translation tool like the Canopy Medical Translator to fill in the void, providing language coverage for patient encounters that are previously unsupported, and facilitating use of OPI, skirting current connection obstacles. Use the call interpreter button on the bottom right of the screen!

+ What is the right balance between using pre-translated phrases and live-interpretation services?

The pre-translated content within the application is not a replacement for in-person or telephonic interpretation, but it is a powerful asset when those resources are difficult to access. In-person interpreters are the gold standard, but they are an extremely limited resource. Even with OPI, language resource coverage for the LEP population is grossly insufficient. If Google Translate is at the low end of the spectrum and OPI or in-person interpreters are at the upper end, this leaves a vast territory in the middle of the spectrum for a curated translation tool like the Canopy Medical Translator to fill in the void, providing language coverage for patient encounters that are previously unsupported, and facilitating use of OPI, skirting current connection obstacles.

In situations where a provider needs to quickly ask a yes/no question or communicate some basic instructions when he/she may not be in the best position to access the interpreter phone or an in-person interpreter, the curated phase corpus is at his/her disposal. A few obvious examples of these types of situations: * When a nurse checks-in with a patient multiple times a day to ask whether the patient’s pain has increased or decreased. * A series of key questions asked in rapid-fire fashion with numerous patients when residents are rounding. * A physician doing an eye exam where communication of simple instructions is sufficient to facilitate the encounter.

+ Tapping the interpreter button doesn't connect me

You can follow these instructions to set up your Canopy app to call interpreters for free. First, open your Canopy app, go to the settings screen and select “user setup”. Then select your state and your health care facility from the list. If we have your facility’s interpreter phone number on record, that number will be automatically added to your app. If we do not have the number, you can add it. If you are unsure of the number, ask your facility's administrator.

+ How does Canopy Medical Translator help with meeting legal requirements for language assistance services?

Providing language assistance to patients who have limited English Proficiency (LEP) is not only a sensible thing to do, but is also a legal requirement mandated by the federal as well as many state and local governments. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that “No person shall “on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” In 2000, the Dept. of Health and Human Services issued a Policy Guidance for Title VI, requiring that any entities receiving federal funding “must offer and provide language assistance services, including bilingual staff and interpreter services, at no cost to each patient/customer with limited English proficiency at all points of contact, in a timely manner during all hours of operation.” *Note that “any entity receiving federal funding” effectively means all healthcare institutions that cater to medicare and medicaid patients.

The Canopy product suite is specifically designed to align with both the letter and the spirit of the overarching Title VI mandate and the HHS Policy Guidance. Language Access is a Civil Right. Canopy is filling in the gaps where language support does not currently exist and provides assistance across the spectrum of care.

+ What if I’m a clinician who doesn’t work in one of the specialties listed on the home screen?

Many of the questions and phrases can be used by any clinician, regardless of specialty. Each of the existing specialty folders essentially a pre-constructed playlist. A user can create their own playlists if his/her specialty or subspecialty is not already made available as a pre-constructed playlist. Watch the playlist video. The application is a dynamic product; the specialty sections will become more robust and more specialities and subspecialties will continuously be added once there is sufficient user demand.

Try using the Search Bar at the top of your app - start typing in a keyword like "blood" and immediately see the most relevant phrases displayed from our entire content library.

+ My audio is too quiet

The volume of the audio is a known problem and we are trying to make it louder but some departments may also just be too noisy for any phone's speakers to overcome. Did you know: if you are playing a phrase and you rotate your phone sideways into landscape mode, a bigger, more readable version of the translated text will display. This is meant as a way to show your patient the written version of what you're communicating - particularly useful in noisy environments!

+ Who developed the content of the application? What is the quality assurance process?

We have a rigorous quality assurance process in place. The content in the Canopy Medical Translator are translated and reviewed by professional translators. We also recognize that there is no singular ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ way to speak a phrase or to convey it in another language. Translations are subject to interpretation and merit continued deliberation on purported meaning: the application’s design supports this philosophy. There is a feedback loop in the application to gather user suggestions -- both in suggesting a better way to phrase the question in English but also to suggest a different translation in one of the 15 languages -- so that individual preferences can be accounted for.

+ I'm bilingual and I see a translation has an error

In general for sending feedback about the pronunciations, please use the "improve translation" button below a phrase and type in your comment after the text translation in the note field. It'll definitely get to us this way with the proper tagging about which phrase it is and what your feedback is.