As of October 2020, based in Delaware ChristianaCare announced one of the first HIPPA-eligible Alexa skills to help meet the needs of home health patients. Designed for ChristianaCare HomeHealth, the Home care coach is a personalized, proactive care plan delivered through an Alexa Skill that allows patients to ask questions about prescribed medications, exercises, and care plans.
This initiative is one of the latest from the award-winning team of designers and developers in the Healthcare sector and Technology ChristianaCare Innovation Center. IT Director Randy Gaboriault spoke with HealthTech about the Alexa Competency and what it could mean for the future of healthcare.
HEALTHTECH: How did the idea for this skill come about?
GABORIAULT: We are always ready to innovate in depth and fight for change. The Alexa skill arose out of an issue faced by clinical leaders in our home health business. When the patients were discharged, a nurse would show up a day or two later to help with the exercises. Yet when patients are left on their own, they often forget or have questions. The goal was to have a deployment where patients could ask for help at any time regarding exercises or the plan of care.
HEALTHTECH: How did the team develop it?
GABORIAULT: It was developed internally in our innovation center. We have various skill sets to do this job, including design, software, hardware engineering, business analysis, UX experts, and graphic designers. The care plan is ordered, personalized for the patient, designed by the clinical team and uploaded to Alexa, then stays at home as an extension of caregivers.
HEALTHTECH: What type of training is offered to clinicians or patients?
GABORIAULT: We received a grant of $ 750,000 from the Federal Communications Commission to bring remote care technology to marginalized communities. We also used the dollars to try to find the best way to interact. Many people already know how to use it, but households with elderly and frail people may not have the necessary skills. We customize it to meet their exact needs, teaming up with something like a version of the Geek Squad to help those who might need it.
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HEALTHTECH: How do you measure the performance of the skill?
GABORIAULT: We have several methods. Alexa can ask a question to see if patients are happy with the experience, and our clinicians also interact with patients for feedback. We also have a health research institute to help us design studies, validate data, and determine how to take the next step in the right direction.
HEALTHTECH: What role will voice-activated technologies play in the future of healthcare?
GABORIAULT: Fast forward a few years, and it will be personalized for the needs of the patient. We are building this approach because the economic model of health care is changing in America. This is what we call population health / value-based medicine / responsible care. Voice activated technologies will become another gateway to increase the level of interaction. For example, a person can filter glucose data on a monitoring device and then send it back to Alexa. He may find that the person has a spike in blood, then ask if they need advice on the recipe. It can really increase the connectivity of care between the system and the patient.
- According to the source Q&A: ChristianaCare CIO on the future of voice Technology
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