The last mile problem exists everywhere. Systems may get digitized, products and services may evolve to perfection, but the last link to individual is key. Whether it is the local cable provider laying the actual copper wire to your doorstep or the company that makes a better mouse/keyboard to control any given software, the constraint brings a dose of reality to digital value propositions.

Overcoming language barrier in a healthcare interaction seems like a last mile problem too. Hyper-specialization is getting to be the norm in all domains so it may not surprise you to know that ‘Medical Interpretation’ is a formal career. It comes with training, certification, professional organization and above-average growth prospects. Phrazer may change the need for a human medical interpreter – it is an interactive device that allows collection and communication of clinical information between patient and provider regardless of language differences.

Phrazer content seems to include disease protocols, best practices, patient health education. It can be integrated with local workflow EMR and be used to collect information and consent from the patient. See video below for a demo.

The idea is neat, but ahead of it’s time. Especially given that a human workaround (albeit expensive and scarce) exists in the form of a medical interpreter. I can see it being applied in large primary care setting where patients have the time and ability to hold a device and interact with it. Not so much for emergency or acute care environments. If time is short, clinicians are trained to follow protocols and dont have luxury of waiting for interpretation most of the times.

It’d be interesting if they can partner with patient tablet vendors like Phreesia to create a combined offering. But since this is a last-mile type value proposition, integration with other end systems like pharmacy, scheduling, registration etc. is going to be critical. Not any easy feat, given the myriad combination of systems and vendors for all those other systems. If Phrazer lands a major partnership with a large EHR vendor or IDS, that would give them enough runway towards market adoption.