CALD Assist: Developing technology to assist communication between clinicians and patients from CALD backgrounds

Miss Courtney Pocock1, Dr  David Silvera- Tawil2, Ms Sally Brinkmann1, Dr Jill Freyne2, Dr Dana Kai Bradford2, Ms Andrea Donnell1, Ms Karen Harrap2

1Western Health, St Albans, Australia, 2CSIRO, ,

Interpreters are required to aid communication between clinicians and patients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds to ensure appropriate and timely care. It is often not practical for interpreters to be present for daily basic care interactions. Western Health and CSIRO have built upon the CALD Assist- Allied Health app to design, deploy and evaluate a solution to support communication between nursing staff and patients from CALD backgrounds during daily basic care interactions.

CALD Assist utilises key phrases translated into ten common languages using pictorial, written and voice-over prompts.

A user needs analysis incorporating staff focus groups and patient interviews was completed to identify technology and content requirements of CALD Assist. A four month impact analysis was conducted incorporating staff satisfaction focus groups and surveys, structured patient interviews, app usage log analysis and observation data collected before and after the introduction of CALD Assist to determine the impact on the patient experience and safety.

Results from focus groups and interviews demonstrated participants were enthusiastic about the development of CALD Assist. Results suggest that staff confidence of the patient’s level of understanding of interactions (p<0.001) and their perception of the success of interactions (p<0.001) were significantly higher with use of CALD Assist compared to without CALD Assist.

CALD Assist harnesses the use of new technologies to directly improve patient care in partnership with them. This app has significant potential to deliver safer, higher quality care to a potentially vulnerable population and may reduce inequity in healthcare delivery although this warrants further evaluation.


Courtney Pocock was the original creator of the CALD Assist concept and methodology.  Courtney is a senior Speech Pathologist at Western Health. She has experience across the continuum of care, and is currently working within subacute inpatient care services.  Courtney has led a number of projects within Speech Pathology and Allied Health and has most recently been the project manager for the development of the CALD Assist iPad app.

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