GeaCom selects Sierra Wireless to connect multilingual medical communication device to electronic health records

Innovative device with Sierra Wireless AirPrime™ embedded wireless module helps caregivers communicate with patients over language, cultural, and literacy barriers

Sierra Wireless and GeaCom, Inc. today announced that GeaCom has selected a Sierra Wireless AirPrime™ embedded wireless module to provide the 3G wireless connection for GeaCom’s handheld multilingual medical communication system, called Phrazer®.

The first system of its kind in the world, Phrazer is a handheld touchscreen device that helps patients and caregivers overcome differences in language, culture, or literacy to exchange critical medical information. With the integrated AirPrime MC8355 embedded wireless module, the Phrazer device can instantly access and update patient information within an electronic health records (EHR) system, even at an accident site or while in transit to hospital, using a cellular data network.

Phrazer addresses key elements of patient-centered care by facilitating communication and understanding between patients and caregivers. Communication barriers often result in errors in medication and treatment, misdiagnoses, and caregiver mistakes that can cause the patient serious harm or even death. According to a 2003 study, an average of 31 interpreter errors occur per encounter with patients who have limited English proficiency.  Of those errors, 63% result in clinical consequences.

Caregivers struggle to provide high quality healthcare to non-English speaking patients. Phrazer will help eliminate communication barriers, thereby improving efficiency and accuracy while reducing costs,” said Chris Butler, the Chief Operating Officer of GeaCom, Inc. “Having the ability to integrate wireless communications through Sierra Wireless technology is critical to Phrazer’s success. The integrated wireless link allows us to provide better, more accurate information to caregivers using Phrazer, ultimately resulting in better patient care.

Phrazer identifies what language a patient speaks and then collects his/her information, medical history, symptoms and complaints. This is performed using interactive, prerecorded videos of a culturally familiar doctor speaking the patient’s preferred language. The patient-entered information is then summarized into the caregiver’s language and can be accessed on the device or through the facility’s EHR system.

Phrazer is an innovative example of how wireless connections can be used to enhance healthcare with anytime, anywhere access to patient records and system information,” said Didier Dutronc, Senior Vice President, M2M Embedded Solutions for Sierra Wireless. “Integrating wireless into a healthcare device requires high trust in the wireless module provider and the quality of its products and service, so we are proud that GeaCom selected Sierra Wireless to collaborate on this project.

GeaCom will launch Phrazer during the third quarter of this year and is initially targeting hospitals, clinics, and urgent care centers at the point of admissions. The company also plans to quickly expand into emergency rooms, other medical specialties and first response vehicles.

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