How Translation Services Assist in Integrating Medical IoT in Developing Countries  

Updated on September 20, 2023

The Medical IoT industry is estimated to grow to 260.75 billion dollars in 2027. However, even with the advancements in distribution and access to these IoT medical devices, not all countries have immediate access to them.

Today, we will discuss how language barriers are one of the biggest challenges in emerging medical IoT industries in developing countries and how translation services can help overcome these barriers. If you want to learn more about this and what can be done to overcome this issue, then keep reading!

Role of IoT Medical Devices in Developing Countries

For many healthcare practitioners and providers, there’s a lot of potential in medical IoT regarding improving the patients’ lives and managing the complexity of the healthcare business through automation and connectivity.  

However, developing countries have always lagged compared to their industrialized counterparts regarding advanced technology. It’s disconcerting because one of the many revolutionary benefits of medical IoT is its non-invasive, real-time monitoring applications.

This is further reiterated by Taylor & Francis Online, who published an article that examined medical IoT in the rural communities in Ghana and Sierra Leone. These rural areas were known to have high cases of preventable diseases, so it looked into medical IoT as a solution to improve healthcare in the local communities.

It showed that medical IoT technology could mitigate ongoing health problems within these poor communities by enhancing patient monitoring, making health care information more widely accessible, and having healthcare professionals reachable through remote monitoring, care extension, diagnosis, etc. 

Nevertheless, because of challenges, such as the lack of finances and low labor force, in these developing countries, access to IoT has been slow, consequently slowing healthcare progress. Besides these issues, another factor hindering progress and development is the language barrier. 

Language Barriers Affect The Development and Access of Medical IoT

When discussing IoT, it also includes Information and Communications Technology. A study published by The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries identified that out of 43 ICT barriers in developing countries, language barriers were one reason why the IoT industry in these nations wasn’t progressing.  

Because language and communication play a crucial role in the social integration of IoT medical devices into communities, it will help introduce these technologies into their daily activities. It involves both the medical practitioners and patients willingly using these devices.

Social integration also means disseminating information about the technology and explaining the benefits of using these devices, which is why language barriers are problematic. Overcoming these barriers through professional translation services lowers the “fear of technology” and “resistance to change” within these communities.

Another reason language barriers are problematic is that the IoT’s current medium of education and training is primarily in English. Most developing countries are non-English speakers, leading to a shortage of local, skilled workers. 

Lastly, language barriers make IoT medical devices inaccessible to non-English speakers, as users can’t read and understand how to use them. 

Because of this, interpretation and translation services are integral if healthcare providers want advancement in their current medical technology field and services. However, there is no room for errors in translation in medicine.

Every word must be accurate, or it could have deadly consequences for the patient’s well-being. It could also lead to negative opinions from the public.

Speed Up Medical IoT Accessibility

Since we’ve discussed how problematic language barriers are in the progress of medical IoT devices and technology within these developing countries, you understand how vital the role of language and translation services is in ensuring the advancement of local IoT industries. 

An example of how vital professional translation services are is beneficial to the elderly population in developing nations. IoT devices can help loved ones and medical professionals remotely monitor the elderly while allowing them autonomy. 

However, the elderly are also less likely to use medical IoT. It’s due to fear and not knowing how to use the devices, especially for non-native English speakers. Simply translating voiceovers with subtitled videos can soothe their concerns and explain how they can utilize hearing aids, activity trackers, portable monitors, etc. 

From our example alone, professional translation services can help create multilingual IoT medical devices and services that can make their wide-scale use in society more accessible and user-friendly.

How Translation Services Can Make Medical IoT More Multilingual-Friendly 

In our research on IoT medical device accessibility in developing countries, we came across Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of Tomedes, a translation services company that combines the expertise of human translators with state-of-the-art technology in all these language solutions for medical IoT companies worldwide. Tirosh has long been an advocate for making technology more multilingual and disability-friendly, especially in the medical field.

In our interview with him, Tirosh stated that despite how advanced technology has become, by default, it primarily uses the English language as the medium of communication. He also mentioned that the vast majority of websites found online are inaccessible to those with disabilities. 

“It’s problematic because if companies and health organizations want to make IoT medical devices more accessible to developing countries, they will have to consider many factors, for example, the price accessibility, the type of language used (the spoken, the written, and the sign language form) in the manuals, and the software’s content,” Tirosh explained.  

In our interview with Tirosh, he gave some tips on how to make more multilingual and disability-friendly IoT medical devices:

  • Conduct Surveys and Research on Target Audience – Medical IoT developers should conduct studies and research on their target audience. First-hand data is the best way to get an overall picture of your target audience’s profile and needs. 
  • Seek Language Experts – Once you’ve identified your target audience, you will have to collaborate with language experts, including those specializing in sign language, as each country has its own version. Relying on translation technology could affect the quality of the translation, as these technologies don’t have the cultural and linguistic nuances that professional translators have. 
  • Work with Public Health Organizations and Governments – By closely working with local government bodies and public health organizations, you will ensure that your medical IoT complies with local laws. It is also a good way of gaining public support and funding for future projects.

Other Challenges Medical IoT Industry Faces In Developing Countries

Other than language barriers and lack of economic resources, political factors can also affect the progress of medical IoT in developing countries. Going back to the research paper published by Taylor & Francis Online, it stated that the study encouraged policymakers to adopt medical IoT in rural healthcare systems. 

The absence of clear policies and political instability have been shown to drag down the implementation of new technologies. However, one could argue that government officials failure to catch up with new technology is as old as the innovation of technology itself. 

It’s only a matter of time before the governments of developing nations start to regulate and initiate programs tailored around IoT devices and their applications. Part of this would include data privacy, protection, and standardization.

It will also lead to the development of IT infrastructure that will make internet connection and connectivity possible in developing countries, especially in rural areas where access to medical care is limited.

Especially if you were to look at medical IoT accessibility as a language and communication problem, translation services could influence the cultural and societal perception of the need to advance the nation’s current technology, prompting politicians to take this issue more seriously.

Final Thoughts

IoT technology in the fields of healthcare and medicine can save a lot of lives. The issues discussed in the article are just some of the concerns when dealing with IoT accessibility, particularly in developing nations.

The communication and linguistic part of the problem with medical IoT is often overlooked. However, with the help of translation services, attainable information for the non-English speaking public can affect social, cultural, and political aspects of developing nations, making it easier for medical IoT to be accepted.  

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.