Solution to Low Health Literacy: SpeechMED

Lasya Ampaty • April 25, 2023

Health literacy refers to a person’s ability to understand and use health information to make informed decisions about their health. In the United States, health literacy is a significant concern as almost 77 million adults have basic or below basic health literacy skills. In addition, many Americans speak languages other than English in their homes and can have difficulty understanding changes to their medical plan. Having a low health literacy not only costs the individual $13,000 annually, but also can lead to poorer health outcomes. After experience the heart-break of losing her mother to personal medication errors, Susan Perry, the CEO of SpeechMED, sought to create a platform that could visually and audibly relay patient medical information in any language at the touch of a button.

SpeechMED’s audio-visual platform empowers patients and their caregivers to hear their medical instructions in any language of their choice. SpeechMED’s proprietary platform was developed to engage providers as well as patients and caregivers in person and remotely. Focusing on risk mitigation “at every touch point,” SpeechMED is able to display or audibly communicate instructions for post-visit care, medications, or procedural prep in multiple languages. By breaking down complex health instructions into phrases and videos into simplistic formats, the platform is engaging and empowering users during each step of the care plan. For providers and patients alike, engagement through level appropriate health literacy strengthens end-to-end care participation reducing fatigue, mistrust, and poor healthcare outcomes, This simple, yet effective innovation in the digital health space promises to help close gaps in accessibility and increase healthcare equity for many.

Winner of HITLAB’s Spring 2022 Breakthrough Alliance (BTA) Challenge, SpeechMed has hit the ground running with more than a hundred downloads on the GooglePlay App Store; Apple iOS availability is currently development. In 2022, SpeechMed rolled out a subscription-based service, SpeechMED Solo, for healthcare providers allowing them to send care instructions for medications, procedure prep, and supplemental patient education directly to a patient’s mobile device. The team expects to grow this revenue stream as its user base increases. However, this proprietary technology has already attracted attention and funding from a number of sources including from Gener8tor, ProjectLift, Founder Institute, and Xalles Studio. Highlighting the necessity for new tools for health literacy as technology has continued to advance.

SpeechMED hopes to increase care participation thereby positively impacting health equity for underserved populations, such as the elderly and at risk minority groups. With an innovation that speaks to patients in any language at any time, Perry and SpeechMED hope to continue educating patients on their health, lower their medical costs and make decision-making easier and more autonomous. HITLAB’s BTA Challenge not only gave exposure to SpeechMed’s revolutionary translation technology, but also highlighted the need to establish additional pathways for impactful innovative technology to find traction with target consumer bases. SpeechMED will undoubtedly shape care participation amongst consumers of all types.

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