Worldish breaking communication barriers in health and social care
When Abhishek Jacob and Naveen Sasidharan moved to Sweden from India for their masters program at Linköping University, the two realized they had challenges integrating themselves in the country. One of those obstacles was dealing with language barriers.
It’s why Jacob and Sasidharan launched Worldish in early 2015. The company develops a tool aimed at helping doctors and patients break those communication barriers with each other.
“Worldish is a coined name, it’s something that belongs to the world, something that is for the world,” CEO and Co-Founder Abhishek Jacob said. “It could also be seen as a language that unites people; English, Swedish, Worldish.”
Their tool, Helen, is a communication assistant and conversation engine with more than 60 languages using text, video and audio technology. Jacob says the tool is named after the American author and activist Helen Keller, because in spite of her barriers, she was still able to communicate and inspire millions of people through her books and speeches.
Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing when she was 19 months old, and went on to become the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
The company’s main niches are the healthcare and social care industries, but they’re planning to expand to the education and training markets. Worldish has a team of 14 people with a subsidy in India tackling a lot of the company’s development work.
“Now we are on the way of growing internationally, scaling internationally, and hiring international talents as well,” Jacob said. “The team is growing and right now our biggest customers are in Sweden.”
“We want to be market leaders in about five countries in the next five years”
Jacob says they just got their first international customer in the Netherlands this month, and says they’ve seen a lot of interest from countries like France, the United Kingdom, and in the Middle East.
The team is also working on constantly improving the technology behind Helen. Jacob hopes within the next few years that the tool will be more like a conversational AI. He says there’s a lot happening within the machine learning and voice recognition fields to help facilitate those improvements.
“What we’re really building is an engine that can help people have more efficient dialogues and more efficient training,” Jacob said. “Helen will be like a Siri for healthcare, or for care that helps clinicians choose the right questions and phrases in the dialogues with patients, so they can focus on the decision-making.”
Researchers say language barriers in healthcare leads to lower satisfaction and quality of healthcare and patient safety. Research also shows using translation services increases the satisfaction of both medical providers and patients and improves the quality of healthcare delivery and patient safety.
Jacob says their goal is to help everyone have 24/7 access to the highest quality of healthcare possible.
“We started Worldish with a vision that we want to build an equal world where everybody has equal access to information and services,” Jacob said.
He says Helen is also used by Swedish doctors to make diagnoses simple and clear for their Swedish-speaking patients.
“We hear from our clinicians that even with Swedish patients it’s not easy to explain medical terms and conditions in a simple way,” Jacob said. “So they’re using Helen to explain their thinking in a more pedagogic way.”
Worldish is actively looking for investments to ramp up their operation in Sweden and internationally. The startup was among several finalist companies to pitch in front of a live audience for Techarenan Challenge at Almedalen.
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