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mHealth : a game-changer for multilingual service encounters?

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Abstract
In this chapter we report on recent research assessing the impact of m-health (mobile health) on meaning-making in multilingual health care settings (De Wilde, Van Praet & Van Vaerenbergh, 2019). We zoom in on the design, development and usability testing of a multilingual, mobile app to facilitate the communication between caretakers of a preventive health organisation situated in Flanders, Belgium and mothers with limited Dutch proficiency. The application runs on a Windows 10 touchscreen tablet, groups various communication support tools, such as translation in 5 foreign languages, pictograms, icons, video remote interpreting, and an audio version of text content. The chapter describes the results of a two-group between-subjects experiment, in which respondents (N=20) were randomly assigned to either a service encounter with app (N=11), or a service encounter without app (N=9). The research builds on the hypothesis that technological mediation facilitates the transfer of information. To verify this hypothesis, we rely on a mixed method approach, integrating quantitative and qualitative research methods: (i) SERVQUAL satisfaction questionnaires and (ii) Discourse Analysis, analyzing patterns of speech and interaction in a qualitative and semi-quantitative way, for example by measuring the length of pauses, or the amount of hand gestures. In particular, we investigate to which extent technological mediation promotes, advances and accelerates the clarification of complex, abstract notions. In doing so, we cross-compare service providers’ verbal and non-verbal behavior in technology-facilitated service encounters (11) and technology-free service encounters (9), scrutinizing the intensity, variety and accuracy in non-verbal cues, along with the time-span needed to explain difficult time-related concepts (e.g. patience). Gestures have been hypothesized to reduce demands on conceptualization, and speakers have been found to gesture more on problems that are conceptually difficult, even when lexical demands are equated (Hickock & Small, 2016). The assumption guiding our research, then, was that service providers would need less hand gestures and less time to explain a difficult concept, provided the app reduced the demands on conceptualization. Starting off by counting, coding and measuring the complete data set, we proceed to a detailed qualitative analysis of selected passages of video-recorded service-encounters in order to explore why, how and if the multimodality of the app exerts its influence on communication. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data improved our evaluation by ensuring that the limitations of one type of data were balanced by the strengths of another. The findings address concerns of lengthened visit time, reduced eye contact, reduced non-verbal intensity, and additional training needs. The paper closes with brief guidelines for unlocking the potential of mHealth in language discordant service encounters. We spell out implications for health care provision, the limitations of our approach, and avenues for future research (see also De Wilde, Van Praet & Rillof, 2016). In doing so, we zoom out on the increasing importance of assessing service quality in industries where customer involvement is high, such as healthcare and financial services. We reflect on language as a resource in the globalized new economy, and how this is a critical given in extending the focus of linguistic research (Heller 2010).
Keywords
m-health, multilingual health care provision, two-group between-subjects experiment, mixed method, technology-facilitated service encounters

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MLA
Van Praet, Ellen, et al. “MHealth : A Game-Changer for Multilingual Service Encounters?” Multilingual Healthcare : A Global View on Communicative Challenges, edited by Christiane Hohenstein and Magdalène Lévy-Tödter, Springer Gabler, 2020, pp. 285–310.
APA
Van Praet, E., De Wilde, J., & Karanfil, A. (2020). mHealth : a game-changer for multilingual service encounters? In C. Hohenstein & M. Lévy-Tödter (Eds.), Multilingual healthcare : a global view on communicative challenges (pp. 285–310). Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
Chicago author-date
Van Praet, Ellen, July De Wilde, and Abdil Karanfil. 2020. “MHealth : A Game-Changer for Multilingual Service Encounters?” In Multilingual Healthcare : A Global View on Communicative Challenges, edited by Christiane Hohenstein and Magdalène Lévy-Tödter, 285–310. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Praet, Ellen, July De Wilde, and Abdil Karanfil. 2020. “MHealth : A Game-Changer for Multilingual Service Encounters?” In Multilingual Healthcare : A Global View on Communicative Challenges, ed by. Christiane Hohenstein and Magdalène Lévy-Tödter, 285–310. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
Vancouver
1.
Van Praet E, De Wilde J, Karanfil A. mHealth : a game-changer for multilingual service encounters? In: Hohenstein C, Lévy-Tödter M, editors. Multilingual healthcare : a global view on communicative challenges. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler; 2020. p. 285–310.
IEEE
[1]
E. Van Praet, J. De Wilde, and A. Karanfil, “mHealth : a game-changer for multilingual service encounters?,” in Multilingual healthcare : a global view on communicative challenges, C. Hohenstein and M. Lévy-Tödter, Eds. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler, 2020, pp. 285–310.
@incollection{8658498,
  abstract     = {In this chapter we report on recent research assessing the impact of m-health (mobile health) on meaning-making in  multilingual health care settings (De Wilde, Van Praet & Van Vaerenbergh, 2019). We zoom in on the design, development and usability testing of a multilingual, mobile app to facilitate the communication between caretakers of a preventive health organisation situated in Flanders, Belgium and mothers with limited Dutch proficiency. The application runs on a Windows 10 touchscreen tablet, groups various communication support tools, such as translation in 5 foreign languages, pictograms, icons, video remote interpreting, and an audio version of text content. 
The chapter describes the results of a two-group between-subjects experiment, in which respondents (N=20) were randomly assigned to either a service encounter with app (N=11), or a service encounter without app (N=9). The research builds on the hypothesis that technological mediation facilitates the transfer of information. To verify this hypothesis, we rely on a mixed method approach, integrating quantitative and qualitative research methods: (i) SERVQUAL satisfaction questionnaires and (ii) Discourse Analysis, analyzing patterns of speech and interaction in a qualitative and semi-quantitative way, for example by measuring the length of pauses, or the amount of hand gestures. 
In particular, we investigate to which extent technological mediation promotes, advances and accelerates the clarification of complex, abstract notions. In doing so, we cross-compare service providers’ verbal and non-verbal behavior in technology-facilitated service encounters (11) and technology-free service encounters (9), scrutinizing the intensity, variety and accuracy in non-verbal cues, along with the time-span needed to explain difficult time-related concepts (e.g. patience). Gestures have been hypothesized to reduce demands on conceptualization, and speakers have been found to gesture more on problems that are conceptually difficult, even when lexical demands are equated (Hickock & Small, 2016). The assumption guiding our research, then, was that service providers would need less hand gestures and less time to explain a difficult concept, provided the app reduced the demands on conceptualization.
Starting off by counting, coding and measuring the complete data set, we proceed to a detailed qualitative analysis of selected passages of video-recorded service-encounters in order to explore why, how and if the multimodality of the app exerts its influence on communication. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data improved our evaluation by ensuring that the limitations of one type of data were balanced by the strengths of another.
The findings address concerns of lengthened visit time, reduced eye contact, reduced non-verbal intensity, and additional training needs. The paper closes with brief guidelines for unlocking the potential of mHealth in language discordant service encounters. We spell out implications for health care provision, the limitations of our approach, and avenues for future research (see also De Wilde, Van Praet & Rillof, 2016). In doing so, we zoom out on the increasing importance of assessing service quality in industries where customer involvement is high, such as healthcare and financial services. We reflect on language as a resource in the globalized new economy, and how this is a critical given in extending the focus of linguistic research (Heller 2010).},
  author       = {Van Praet, Ellen and De Wilde, July and Karanfil, Abdil},
  booktitle    = {Multilingual healthcare : a global view on communicative challenges},
  editor       = {Hohenstein, Christiane and Lévy-Tödter, Magdalène},
  isbn         = {9783658271190},
  issn         = {2524-6747},
  keywords     = {m-health,multilingual health care provision,two-group between-subjects experiment,mixed method,technology-facilitated service encounters},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {285--310},
  publisher    = {Springer Gabler},
  series       = {FOM-Edition},
  title        = {mHealth : a game-changer for multilingual service encounters?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-27120-6_11},
  year         = {2020},
}

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