PATCHS is primarily meant to be used in English, however our ongoing research into online consultations
suggests that patients who speak English as a second language may be discouraged from using them. To address this inequality we therefore provide a translation service in PATCHS.
How to use PATCHS Translate
If you have PATCHS Translate turned on at your practice, patients can choose what language they see displayed in PATCHS from a dropdown menu:
When a patient chooses a non-English language, all the text in PATCHS is translated including chatbot questions and safety warnings. They have all been checked for accuracy and safety by a professional human translation service, however patients are still advised to contact the practice by telephone and use a human translator if they have concerns about the accuracy of the translation. You can read more about how patients use PATCHS Translate in this help article.
When their request comes through to your practice, it is shown in the patients' chosen language with an orange warning. To translate to English, click the 'Translate to English' link:
The request is then shown in English with a further warning: 'accuracy cannot be guaranteed - if any concerns, please phone the patient and/or use a human translator.' This is similar to what the patient sees when they select a non-English language:
You can then reply to the patient in English. When the patient receives the message, they can select to display the message in their chosen language again:
PATCHS Translate is also available when you initiate
messages to patients. You can read more about how to do this in this help article
What is the clinical risk of using PATCHS Translate?
However, as mentioned above, the accuracy and safety of all translations of fixed text within PATCHS has been checked by a professional human translation service (e.g. initial chatbot questions and safety warnings). Nevertheless, if you have any concerns about the accuracy of the translation that PATCHS provides, please contact the patient directly and/or use a human translation service.
It is worth noting that no other consultation system currently provides a translation functionality. Online consultations have provided many benefits but there are real concerns they have exacerbated inequalities, such as for patients that speak English as a second language. Without PATCHS Translate, the only options available are to:
- Use a human translator - which is slow and expensive, and removes any benefit of using an online consultation system.
- Use another online translation system - which is not integrated with the online consultation system (and therefore not the clinical record), and has not been professionally checked for accuracy and safety.
What languages are provided?
We currently translate the 33 most commonly spoken non-English languages in the UK
. Please get in touch if you would like to see other languages listed by clicking the 'Give Feedback' button when logged into PATCHS. We can add other languages if they are available on Amazon Translate
. However, it takes time to get the translation professionally checked by a human for accuracy and safety. This also incurs a cost, so we would need sufficient demand for an additional language before it was introduced.
How are spelling mistakes handled?
PATCHS Translate can cope with spelling mistakes. It has been built using machine learning not preprogrammed rules, so it has learned over time how to correctly translate commonly misspelled words.