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The program that helps the doctor communicate with immigrants

They test in Spain a software financed by the EU to help foreigners to access health services in European countries

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The program that helps the doctor communicate with immigrants
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This summer, EU-funded software was tested for first time in Spanish health centers to help immigrants access health services in European countries. The researchers received 3.6 million euros to develop program, which can be used in laptops and tablets to answer questions of users in ir native language, or to see m and to interpret ir hand gestures or ir facial expressions and n explain what y mean. The program is adapted and designed for immigrants from Middle East and North Africa.

"It is possible that immigrants arriving in European countries are totally unaware of health system," said Leo Wanner, researcher who runs Kristina project, European Commission's internal research magazine Horizon.

"Our agent could analyze ir problems according to ir age, ir location, ir sex and or variables, so y can tell m in ir native language where y have to go," said Wanner, who is a professor of computational linguistics at Pompeu Fabra University. Barcelona.

The software was tested this summer in Barcelona and Tarragona. European Union (EU) funding for research through Horizon 2020 program will end next year, but researchers hope to make software available as an application.

The program can answer user questions in ir native language and interpret ir hand gestures or facial expressions

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants EU Member States to devote more resources to e-health, and says it can empower patients and encourage innovation. The European Commission plans to announce new measures related to digital health services by end of this year. In July, EU executive opened a three-month call for public information on issues such as cross-border access to health data and data analysis of digital health records.

Digital health tools can "help transition from a hospital-based health model to an integrated, people-centered model" and allow "citizens to access ir health data anywhere in Europe," wrote Commission when it launched public consultation last month.

In a mid-term review of its flagship digital single market program last May, Commission stated that more efforts must be made to ensure that all citizens can, with complete privacy and confidence, access and transfer ir complete electronic health record medical treatment abroad.

A second prototype of Kristina project focuses on elderly Turkish immigrants and Polish health workers in Germany. The software can hold conversations in German and Turkish, and offers advice on care for people with dementia and healthy eating.

"If an older person greets virtual agent with a slightly depressed voice in morning, he will recognize it and ask what problem is. She will ask if she has slept badly or will find something she can do to encourage her. For example, it might remind her that her family is coming to visit her that afternoon, "Wanner told Horizon.

Researchers at Kristina project present ir tool as a way to improve healthcare and reduce costs for health systems in EU countries.

This text was originally published in English on Euractiv website.

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