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Ann Arbor Spark

March 2, 2021

VidaTalk Provides a Voice to COVID-19 Patients

Eloquence Communications extends its offer of unlimited downloads of its VidaTalk application to Michigan-based healthcare providers to aid critical doctor-patient communications during the pandemic.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak and surging crisis, hundreds of thousands of patients required intubation and mechanical ventilation due to severe infections. Many of these patients awakened from days of paralysis, too weak to write legibly, and unable to speak because of the breathing tube passing through their vocal cords. Their experience of being suddenly speechless was extremely terrifying and even worse for those not provided a means to communicate. Nurses and physicians needed a method to make communication possible.

Recognizing the growing need, Eloquence Communications, Inc. offered unlimited downloads to their communication application, VidaTalk, to help people have access to an evidence-based and tested solution that enabled these suddenly voiceless patients to convey their thoughts and needs during the most critical time of their lives. 

Eloquence Communications is giving back to the Michigan community and extending its free access through June 30, 2021, to every Michigan hospital that enrolls before March 31, 2021.

Research suggests implementing simple strategies prior to intubation can make for an improved patient experience. These processes are also supported in a recent publication, Evidence-based Communication with Critically Ill Older Adults.

In summary:
  1. Include patient communication as part of ICU morning rounds.
  2. Offer conscious/awake patients a means to communicate with them upon entering and before leaving the patient’s room.
  3. Add communication as a required assessment in the medical record for patients with verbal and language barriers.
  4. Perform audits of 1-3.

About VidaTalk

The VidaTalk app was developed in Ann Arbor, MI with guidance from Menlo Innovation’s High-Tech Anthropologists® to optimize the user design and experience. “This was a critical component to our development, especially since our users were mostly critically ill, extremely weak and oftentimes elderly,” stated Lance Patak, CEO of Eloquence Communications. The Menlo team worked closely with researchers at The Ohio State University who provided feedback from patients and providers for iterative development and refinement of the app throughout a five-year longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health Small Business Technology Transfer Research Grant.

“VidaTalk is a critical tool for hospitals to support their patients and healthcare staff, and has become even more important during the pandemic,” said Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president. “SPARK is proud to have been an early investor in the company and recognizes the significant benefits it’s providing now.”  

VidaTalk continues to expand with the addition of new languages, features and telehealth solutions.

To learn more about how to enroll for a free trial and free consultation on implementing best practices for patients with communication and language barriers, please contact Lance Patak at lpatak@eloquececomm.com.