In health care, high-quality interpretation can be a matter of life or death. That is why the innovative tech startup TikkTalk has entered into a big project by Helse Førde, a region of hospitals in western Norway. The project will use TikkTalk’s digital platform and video system to improve interpretation services. It has a budget of NOK 14 mill. and is supported by Innovation Norway and Skattefunn.
In Northern Europe, more people than ever have minority backgrounds or visit the region as tourists. This means that the need for interpretation services in health care has increased dramatically.
Interpretation services, however, are often provided through old-fashioned agencies, which are costly and time-consuming, as well as they offer little or no documentation of interpreters’ qualifications.
Recognising this problem, Helse Førde and the tech startup TikkTalk have signed an innovation contract on NOK 14 mill. to integrate new technology and process it into healthcare.
A transparent, digital marketplace
TikkTalk’s digital platform was launched last year to solve this exact problem. Applying principles from the sharing economy, the marketplace provides direct contact between interpreters and clients.
By using TikkTalk, hospitals (and other public institutions and private companies) can easily access interpreters that have clearly documented skills. TikkTalk also complies with all demands for data security, openness and straightforward payments.
In rural parts of Norway, such as the Helse Førde region, most interpretation sessions are conducted over the phone today. This is not a satisfactory solution, as important information could be lost when body language and eye contact is missing.
With TikkTalk’s solution, phone interpretation can instead be performed via video, in the same way Helse Førde currently provides telecare. This secures good visual contact for interpreters in cases where he or she cannot be physically present.
Public sector and Tech startup collaboration creates future growth companies
Helse Førde are confident that the challenges they are facing when using interpretation services will be resolved in a more profitable and sustainable way through a public-private partnership.
“It would be great if an innovative interpretation solution could help build future growth companies. That’s what I call a “win-win” situation” says Administrative Director for Helse Førde, Jon Bolstad.
“So far in the collaboration, I can see that TikkTalk has a different approach than what we would have had alone in the public sector. I think that we are bringing in different perspectives by collaborating, and that this can help the company succeed in bringing this out more efficiently on a larger scale. This way, my sector gets access to a more dynamic solution,” Bolstad says.
Support through Innovation Norway
The project with Helse Førde is supported by Innovation Norway and Skattefunn though an innovation contract (formerly OFU).
TikkTalk has collaborated closely with Innovation Norway from when the company was started one year ago. TikkTalk’s marketplace can be tested on the website.