Identification and Rating of Medical Translator Mobile Applications Using the APPLICATIONS Scoring System [32I]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

With an increasing number of limited-English proficiency (LEP) patients, many health care providers are turning to medical translator applications (apps) for assistance. However, no known published reviews or evaluations of these apps exist. Our objective was to identify and rate medical translator apps using the APPLICATIONS scoring system.

METHODS:

A list of apps was identified from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores using the search term, “medical translator.” Apps not found on two different searches, not in an English-based platform, not used for translation, or not functional after purchase were excluded. The remaining apps were rated using the APPLICATIONS scoring system, which includes both objective and subjective criteria and evaluation of special features such as audio, microphone, and keyboard capabilities. App comprehensiveness was a weighted score defined by the number of non-English languages included in each app relative to the proportion of non-English speakers in the US.

RESULTS:

524 apps were initially found and 26 (9.2%) apps from the Apple iTunes store and 20 (8.2%) apps from the Google Play store remained after applying exclusion criteria. These apps were categorized as preset medical phrases (23 apps), medical dictionaries (16 apps), and general language translators (6 apps). The highest scoring app available on both platforms was Universal Doctor Speaker. Canopy scored highly in iTunes whereas Vocre Translate scored highly in Google Play.

CONCLUSION:

Using the APPLICATIONS scoring system, we have identified and rated medical translator apps that could prove useful to providers in caring for LEP patients.

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