Starling is a platform designed to improve communication between long-term care patients and healthcare personnel, based essentially on icons rather than words.

Starling Improves Patient-Healthcare Provider Communication Using Simple Icons

Many mobile healthcare solutions have appeared in recent years with the aim of simplifying healthcare providers’ work, helping patients take their medication, and even making it easier to set up appointments with doctors. Starling is joining the patient-assistance drive with its mobile platform that can be adapted to any type of information and communication device and which helps patients to overcome any language barriers. Patients send their requests to medical staff by pushing on picture icons that are designed to make the language of medical care universal, streamline the hospital workflow and help to ensure that patient needs are met.

Removing the language barrier

“Our aim is firstly to provide a suite of tools for hospital in-patients,” StarlingHealth Vice President Brian Yarnell told L’Atelier, adding: “Secondly, Starling is looking to facilitate interaction between patients being treated at home and medical centres.” Starling’s solution takes the form of a dashboard showing picture icons which the patient can use to communicate his/her needs –having a bandage changed, obtaining assistance to get out of bed, or signalling the need to take some medicine, for instance. Moreover the information is also written in the patient’s own language, and an audio channel confirms the patient’s request. The request is then sent, and a healthcare staff member will reply. “We incorporated this step after making some trials at healthcare facilities,” said Brian Yarnell, explaining: “It’s important to remember that many patients are elderly or less physically capable because of the medicine they’re taking. This triple mode of communication enables staff to work with them in the most efficient way.”

An adaptable solution

The app, which can be installed either on a mobile device or an office computer, results in faster communication. Condensing the request process to a simple tap on a button helps the medical staff to organise their work to best effect. Using the app, such care events as taking medicine or changing the position of a bed can be scheduled and assigned to a set timetable. The requests can then be categorised according to importance using colour codes. Flexibility is the watchword with Starling’s solution. All the data gathered by healthcare staff are compiled and can for example be turned into a doctor’s work schedule. The platform can also be adapted to patients in line with their circumstances. “If a young mother has just been brought into a healthcare establishment we can change the icons to suit. And for a patient with poor vision we would display a smaller range of icons but of much larger size,” explained the Starling Vice President.

By Guillaume Parodi