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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Story of Speak2See by Dr. Dahlberg

One of the things I love about Twitter is how we find and connect with people and organizations, thereby becoming informed of things we never would have learned about otherwise. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Connor Dahlberg, the creator of the GREAT app, Speak2See. I asked Dr. Dahlberg if he would write a guest post for us. This is a wonderful story how an app was thought of and created by one doctor and his family to bridge the communication gap between him and his deaf and hard of hearing patients. 

The Story of Speak2See
Speak2See is my family's contribution to assist hearing-impaired patients, communicate with healthcare professionals, and aid hearing-impaired individuals in day to day life.  I am a Family Physician who specializes in caring for patients in Skilled Nursing Facilities.  My patients deserve to understand my questions and answers. Before Speak2See my options of communicating with my hearing-impaired patients were limited, I had to speak very loudly or write on a note pad.  These methods posed problems because my handwriting is not the best; thus, adding to the frustration of my patients.

I knew there had to be a better way.  In retrospect, I have always embraced technology; it started when my UCLA freshman chemistry professor allowed the use of calculators instead of slide rules on the exams. This not only changed the use of technology in education as a whole but it changed my life as well. At a young age my parent’s had me invest $150 dollars into a calculator which ignited interest in technology. I have owned Pocket Organizers, Palm Pilots and yes, a wrist watch calculator.   I am an iPhone Doctor.  I use it as a phone, beeper, medical library, flashlight, magnifying glass, charge tracker, PDR and now a visual communication device for my patients.

 I discussed this problem with my family and described an iPhone App idea.  My wife is an RN and my son is a Business Entrepreneur major at Babson College. I have two daughters: one is an Architect Urban Planner, the other a Commercial Real Estate broker. They encouraged me to pursue my dream of inventing an IPhone app called Speak2See.  My son offered to partner with me during his summer vacation in 2012. He helped find our first developer and set up Speak to See LLC.   The whole family participated in the development of the first edition of Speak2See. I began using It to visually communicate with my patients and they loved it!

Over the next several months of testing the app I found areas to improve Speak2See and completed the second improved version in the summer of 2013. Speak2See is simple but powerful.  I hit the button and speak into my Apple Device and instantly have large legible text to present to my patients.  I introduce myself, ask questions, answer questions, compliment patients and tell jokes. My patients interact naturally and stress free! After many months of research,  countless hours of conference calls with family members and taking a technology-beating to become an Apple iOS App Developer, I  became a little frustrated and asked myself if I could really justify the time and financial commitment to continue to work on this App.  My question was answered as I looked in my patient's eyes and could see and feel the level of satisfaction they felt from our interactions and understanding of their care based on using Speak2See.

Is Speak2See really simple?  Yes, you pull it out of your pocket and speak into it or use the custom Speak2See file system that allows you to save questions in specific categories.  An iPhone's inner workings are however, not so simple.  The device is a hand held Apple computer using a complex voice recognition program and a sophisticated IOS platform.  However, Apple devices are already in millions of pockets ready to add visual communication to its primary voice communication function. Our plan with Speak2See is to provide an accurate and comfortable tool to visually communicate with hard-of-hearing individuals. It is designed to help one person at a time and is the difference between understanding and medical confusion.  When used, my medical notes document for all to know I "communicated by Speak2See".

Currently Speak2See is available on all Apple IOS mobile devices, and can be purchased in the Apple App Store. 
Link to website: http://www.speak2see.com
Follow us on Twitter @Speak2See
Bachelor of Arts, Biology
University of California at Los Angeles. (UCLA)
1977, Phi Beta Kappa

Doctor of Medicine
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Family Practice Residency
Northridge Hospital (UCLA Affiliate)

Professional Boards and Affiliations:

Board Certified American Academy of Family Practice

American Medical Directors Association, Certified Medical Director

Board Certified Hospice and Palliative Care

Thank you, Dr. Dahlberg for sharing the story of Speak2See.

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