We talked to Linus Kullänger of Care to Translate about how they help solve language barriers in healthcare and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Linus Kullänger: Compared to others, I am doing fairly well. I live with my wife and two kids, so I have a lot to do, and therefore I don’t really suffer from loneliness during these times. I think the most difficult thing is not seeing my parents more frequently and giving them real hugs.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Care to Translate.
Linus Kullänger: In 2014, I was a third-year medical student eager to get out into the hospital. Many of the patients I met did not speak either Swedish or English, and I found it difficult to even explain to them who I was, not to mention how difficult it was to examine them when we didn’t understand each other. I was surprised by how rarely interpreters were present and that the nursing staff seldom had any chance of getting help with translations, even though they were interacting with the patients 24/7. I clearly saw that this caused major frustration within the nursing staff and had very negative effects on the patients, but little did I know then how big the issue really was. I then felt the responsibility to do something about it. That’s how Care to Translate started.
How does Care to Translate innovate?
Linus Kullänger: Care to Translate is a digital medical interpreter that helps patients and healthcare professionals communicate instantly, safely, and effectively. Today Care to Translate is used by over 270 000 users worldwide and is available in all types of clinics throughout Sweden. More than 3.7 million translations have been made with Care to Translate.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Linus Kullänger: We were quite well prepared for a pandemic. We already worked mainly digitally, so it was not strange to us to transition to 100% digital work. Our main focus is scalability, and therefore, our product lacked restrictions caused by the pandemic. We sell to healthcare organizations that have been both good and bad for business the past year. The need for our product has really risen, but it has become increasingly difficult to set up meetings with the organizations due to their heavy workload. However, we have managed very well, and last year we ran several successful pilots that have led to the closing of big deals. Now we feel that our hard work pays off, and we have gotten a very good momentum.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Linus Kullänger: We have not been forced to make difficult decisions, but we have learned a lot during the past year. We now know that we can reach more people faster due to the increasing digitalization. We know that our potential customers are able to pilot our product and implement it without ever meeting us in person. This is a huge advantage for our future scaling.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Linus Kullänger: We mainly use Slack, Jira, Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams for structure and communication internally and externally. Besides that, we focus a lot on keeping our team together with daily non-work-related calls, daily team syncs, monthly digital after works, and so on.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Linus Kullänger: Our competitors are the big interpretation and translation companies. We believe that we have an advantage compared to them. We are much faster to adapt to these types of situations and have developed a much more scalable solution than them.
Your final thoughts?
Linus Kullänger: I think the pandemic will have a very positive impact on us as a company due to the accelerated digitalization of the healthcare organizations which we’re now seeing.
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