Title Vocationally Oriented culture and language in the Medical Emergency Sector
Project Number 2013-1-IE1-LEO05-06093
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Overcoming language and communication barriers in the healthcare sector:
‘Inadequate communication increases the risk of diagnostic or therapeutic failure’.
The VOCAL-Medical project produced training materials and a tool to support communication in emergency situations where there is no common language and/or a need to bridge cultural gaps between different healthcare systems.
The aim of the VOCAL-Medical project was to transfer innovation from the LdV TOI project VOCAL (2007-2009) and other relevant EU projects which relate to language learning in vocational contexts to a new area, namely the healthcare sector. The project targeted those healthcare professionals who find themselves having to communicate with patients who are non-nationals in emergency situations where good communication skills can literally mean the difference between life and death. In doing so, the project responded to an increasing need to tackle the language and intercultural barriers arising from demographic changes and increased international mobility.
The project provides specific training materials in language and intercultural communication focused on the needs of the healthcare sector. These have been developed through cooperation between educational institutions and professionals working in the sector. The target audience for the materials was specifically:
- in-hospital emergency services
- ambulance service and rapid response teams
- GPs on standby/call duty (especially in urban areas)
- doctors and other healthcare specialists within the hospital who examine and diagnose emergency patients.
The project created a series of online modules in 9 languages plus an associated intercultural module, using the format previously developed for the original VOCAL project. These are available not only via a website, as in the previous project, but also via mobile phone applications. The language modules are not just bilingually (in English plus another language, but any language can be combined with another one. The content of the online training modules cover topics specifically related to ambulance and emergency services as well as related intercultural issues aspects.
The partnership drew on the skills of a wide range of professionals working in the healthcare and language training sectors, as well as experts in intercultural communication and IT. Former partners from the original Vocal project (www.vocalproject.eu) who were familiar with the structure and methodology were also involved. All project partners have undertaken needs analysis research in their own country; using links with institutions in their healthcare sector, the results of which have been built into the materials.
The product of this project is a contextualised language application for hospital/emergency staff available for both personal computers and mobile devices.
The project helps bridge the gap between different healthcare systems and different cultural behaviours inherent in the doctor-patient relationship. There are benefits for the healthcare systems themselves, for the professionals who work in them and for patients who are already in the country or may travel in future as migrant workers, refugees, tourists or students. Improved doctor-patient communication means improved treatment.
During the first year the project partners have developed specific online training materials in language and intercultural communication focused on the needs of the healthcare sector. These have been developed through cooperation between educational institutions and professionals working in the sector; e.g. conducting the needs analysis.
During the second year of this project partners carried out testing the online modules in order to increase the quality of our product.
Open and distance learning
Human Health and Social Work Activities
Information and Communication
open and distance learning
Vocal Medical Application: http://vocal-medical.eu
Vocal Medical Mobile Application: http://m.vocal-medical.eu