Participatory Development of an Image-Based Communication Aid for Migrant Patients and Emergency Nurses

Kerstin Denecke, Friederike J.S. Thilo, Christopher Lueg, Loraine Olalia, Anouk Haldemann, Beatrice Kaufmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Language barriers hamper or delay delivery of urgent and emergency care to migrant children when they or their parents don't speak any of the languages commonly spoken in Switzerland. In such situations, nurses often fall back to use ad hoc communication aids, including translation apps and visual dictionaries, to collect information about a patient's medical history. In this paper, we report on the participatory design process for a novel image-based communication aid. It is specifically tailored to the needs of migrant patients and nurses within Swiss pediatric clinics. We collected requirements in surveys and in-depth interviews with pediatric nurses. A prototype app was developed and tested with users in a scenario-based usability test. The results clearly show that the images developed, especially for symptoms, accidents or nutrition and excretion, are well comprehensible for triage and anamnesis. In contrast, a temporal classification or chronological occurrence of health incidents is difficulty to express with images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealthcare of the Future 2022 Digital Health � From Vision to Best Practice!
EditorsThomas Burkle, Kerstin Denecke, Jurgen Holm, Murat Sariyar, Michael Lehmann
PublisherIOS Press BV
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781643682808
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


  • Communication barriers-language
  • communication aid
  • emergency care
  • migrant patients
  • pediatrics
  • visual support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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