TDARS: Translated Document Assembly and Retrieval System

Period of Performance: 09/07/2008 - 09/06/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Polyglot Systems, Inc.
Morrisville, NC 27560
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): During Phase I, we propose to develop a web prototype to produce, manage, print, and speak vital healthcare documents translated into foreign languages. The proposed system will contain methods to help healthcare organizations assemble a coherent document from a series of document components, customize the document to the needs of the organization (e.g., inclusion of corporate logos and local addresses), organize them, and then retrieve these documents for printing and speaking to their patients. Although many pre-translated materials exist in the marketplace, there has been reluctance on the part of many healthcare organizations to use them. In our discussions with executives and administrators, three issues were critical for pre-translated document adoption: 1) the documents must appear to have originated from the organization, 2) the documents must have flexibility to accommodate its local terminology preferences and state regulatory requirements, and 3) the organization must have the highest confidence in the quality of the translated materials. Our system and processes will attempt to overcome these barriers. In addition, we are unaware of any existing document translation service that speaks the document in the target foreign language to address the needs of the illiterate patient. During Phase I, we will explore the challenges of creating a system to develop customizable, pre-translated documents using two examples advance directives and generic informed consent. The results will be evaluated using qualitative measures through interviews with healthcare administrators including those positioned in risk management and legal departments. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: A national repository of quality, pre-translated documents that speak to the patient can dramatically improve the quality of information provided to our limited-English speaking patients. Current methods of translating documents are haphazard resulting in redundant translation costs by organizations and unreliable verification of the quality of translations. Both the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) has expressed a priority need to creating such a repository.