Implementing a digital communication assistance tool to collect the medical history of refugee patients: DICTUM Friedland - an action-oriented mixed methods study protocol

2019 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

Jump to: Cite & Linked | Documents & Media | Details | Version history

Cite this publication

​Implementing a digital communication assistance tool to collect the medical history of refugee patients: DICTUM Friedland - an action-oriented mixed methods study protocol​
Furaijat, G.; Kleinert, E. ; Simmenroth, A.   & Müller, F. ​ (2019) 
BMC Health Services Research19(1) art. 103​.​ DOI: 


Published Version

Attribution 4.0 CC BY 4.0


Furaijat, Ghefar; Kleinert, Evelyn ; Simmenroth, Anne ; Müller, Frank 
Abstract Background Language barriers play a decisive role in determining the outcomes of medical consultations between healthcare providers and their foreign patients. This issue is a significant challenge to the German healthcare system, especially with the rising number of refugees in recent years. The communication gap between healthcare professionals and their non-German speaking patients sometimes leads to unnecessary medical re-admission, insufficient medical history, incorrect diagnosis, and treatment plans. In this study, we aim to assess the usability and accuracy of a novel digital translation tool in collecting medical history from patients in their native language and to check its effects on healthcare outcomes. Methods The study aims to monitor the implementation of a new digital communication assistance tool (DCAT) and to investigate its impact on the mutual understanding between refugee patients and their German general practitioners (GPs). In the first study phase, an action-oriented approach is used to implement DCAT. In the second study phase, DCAT use will be evaluated with a mixed methods design. The main outcome assesses the re-consultation rates of patients before and after using DCAT. Secondary outcomes include the usability of the tool, its acceptance and perceived quality by patients, the accuracy of the information collected as determined from analysing the reasons for the consultation (ICPC-2 codes), and diagnosis (ICD-10 codes). The acceptance by patients, socio-demographic factors and native language are also taken into account. The research designs for both study phases include questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, non-participant observation and analysis of collected patients’ data. All the collected data is pseudonymised. Discussion The DCAT study is one of the new research projects in primary healthcare investigating the usability, accuracy, and acceptance of digital translation tools during medical encounters. We aim to eliminate significant communication errors and misunderstandings in medical consultations, thereby improving the quality of healthcare outcomes. By applying an action research design, we will attain a more comprehensive evaluation of DCAT scopes and limits. The results of this study are expected to give an in-depth understanding of possible applications and benefits of digital translation tools for patient care. Trial registration German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00013076 , 29/09/2017.
Issue Date
BMC Health Services Research 
DICTUM Friedland - Digitale Kommunikationshilfen für nicht-deutschsprechende Patienten im Grenzdurchgangslager Friedland 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 



Social Media