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Virtual assistant aids patient engagement, accountable care

Author Name Jennifer Bresnick   |   Date October 11, 2013   |   Tagged , , , ,
Are we ready for AI in the ER?  A new virtual assistant called Alme is taking the chat-bot to new heights, helping patients manage chronic diseases with a combination of natural language processing and artificial intelligence.  Next IT’s method for helping patients stay engaged in their care and manage their chronic diseases is probably familiar to anyone with an iPhone these days.  The virtual assistant is nothing new, but tailoring the model to healthcare may help make use of overwhelming smartphone ownership to tackle the rapidly growing number of patients with one or more chronic condition.
“Patients are customers, and the customer is always right, right? Unfortunately, traditional healthcare too often hands us a hassle instead of a concierge,” said Next IT founder and CEO Fred Brown. “Healthcare is complex, and the stakes are high. We sent Alme off to medical tech school. Alme passed with flying colors. We’re confident that Alme for Healthcare will optimize communication and empower patients.”  Alme may have done well in medical school, but it remains to be seen if it will pass a Turing test – or the all-important consumer’s stamp of approval.
The HIPAA-compliant system can help patients answer questions about insurance, track goals, suggest dietary and lifestyle choices, and send reminders.  Users can ask questions by voice, as they would with Siri, or they can type into the program and receive a text response.  Alme will also prompt patients to self-report on their health and disease management, letting physicians save time by skipping the tedious repetition of standard questions during every check-up.  The app can log patient interactions and allow physicians to review the data before a consult.
If the app notices a serious decline in health, or if a patient has more complex questions, it includes an option to speak to a live expert when necessary.  While it is currently targeted to providers, health plans, and ACOs, Next IT plans to bring the app to consumers soon.  Next IT envisions that Alme will help providers run ragged by the need to see more patients in less time while providing better care.
In a pilot program, providers saw a 29% drop in costs while maintaining high patient satisfaction, says Victor Morrison, SVP of Healthcare Markets at Next IT.  “By building a product that was designed from the ground-up for the healthcare industry, we have been able to achieve one experience across all channels with unrivaled accuracy.”
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