Cedars-Sinai Hospital is currently piloting a program that’s putting Amazon Alexa in 100 patient rooms. Using Aiva, “the world’s first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals,” patients can tell Alexa to change the channel or get a nurse for a task. Once the patient commands Alexa, the nurse is notified via a mobile notification. Patients can also ask Alexa for more conversational information regarding the weather, sports, and music. Using Alexa for simple tasks like changing the channel enables the nurses to focus more on medical care, according to Golda Moeales, Cedars-Sinai’s assistant nurse manager of General Surgery.
Peachy Hain, Cedars-Sinai’s executive director of Medical and Surgical Services, spearheaded the Alexa pilot program.
“Patients young and old are now used to voice-activated devices in their homes. Since it’s familiar to them, it helps enhance their hospital experience…In the hospital, patients have little to distract them from pain or loneliness,”
Hain said. Cedars-Sinai was one of the original investors in Aiva, helping them to develop and test their product during the 2017 Cedars-Sinai Accelerator. Since then, funds like the Google Assistant Investment Program and Amazon’s Alexa Fund have contributed their investments, enabling Aiva to work with Google Home as well as Amazon Echo. Before the Alexa pilot program, Cedars Sinai had utilized the MyChart Bedside app as well as iPads to optimize patients’ communication with medical staff.
Cedars-Sinai’s investment in technology echoes the Topol Review, an independent report from England’s National Health Service. By using virtual reality, robotics, and artificial intelligence, technology can be used to improve medical services. The majority of healthcare providers believe that telemedicine and voice-activated platforms like Alexa will have a great impact on the healthcare industry, according to a recent survey from Perkins-Eastman. The implementation of new technology will require increased training for staff as they learn how digital tools can help improve patient care.