Alexa, how is Vocera improving the patient and care team experience?
Vocera has many solutions designed to improve the safety, well-being, and overall healthcare experience for patients, families, clinicians, and other care team members. One of the latest involves a collaboration with Amazon to deliver a Vocera skill for Alexa. The skill leverages Alexa Smart Properties and is HIPAA-eligible for healthcare customers, including health systems, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. Learn more about how Alexa Smart Properties is making an impact on senior living communities and healthcare properties.
In a world where people are accustomed to using voice technology for so many essential things in their daily lives, the Vocera skill for Alexa can provide an easy, personal, and direct way for hospitalized patients and aged care residents to connect with their caregivers and more. The accessible nature of a voice assistant will help provide care teams with new ways to save time and personalize care. The Vocera skill for Alexa offers an intuitive communication platform, not simply a question-answer solution.
The Vocera skill for Alexa will expand the Vocera ecosystem to include patients and their loved ones in an immersive voice experience. The new skill is designed to make it faster and easier for patients and visiting family members to get information and connect with the right care team members with simple voice commands spoken to an Amazon Echo in the patient’s room.
“I love it and think it would free up nurses,” a retired farmer and surgery patient in Washington said during the solution development process. “Sometimes it’s hard to find the call button. So, this would be a good feature to have available.”
Because the Vocera skill for Alexa is hands-free, patients can use it from anywhere in their room. Going beyond the traditional one-button or multi-button nurse call system, it will enable rich communication between patients and their care team members while they're in the hospital.
Patient requests will be delivered to the appropriate team member on their device of choice, including the Vocera Badge, Smartbadge, or Vocera Vina smartphone application. The Vocera skill for Alexa recognizes keywords and phrases spoken by the patient and will use the intelligent Vocera Engage software to determine the appropriate person to receive the message, thereby streamlining workflow. Requests are prioritized for relevance, automatically escalated as needed, and delivered with contextual information to team members who are available and can take action, improving response times and helping reduce cognitive burden.
Through the Vocera skill, Alexa clarifies the nature of patient requests, establishes urgency, and updates the patient on the status of the care team’s response in a personalized, conversational manner. The Vocera skill for Alexa provides verbal updates to patients about the status of each request. A 360-degree confirmation helps put patients at ease knowing their requests are heard and being resolved.
Closed loop communication helps exceed patient expectations compared to the usual dispatch approach to patient requests. When surveying potential users, a patient in Illinois said, “This is kind of a breakthrough. It is cool that you can ask for things in the hospital just like at home.” She also said, “It reassures me that I haven’t been forgotten. I feel calm and comfortable that my request is being taken care of.”
Common questions from patients that do not need clinical intervention, such as visitor hours or the lunch menu, will be answered automatically through the Vocera skill for Alexa to reduce interruptions for nurses and other care team members.
“People are used to using voice assistants, and using your voice is easy. It is more direct and makes it better for nurses,” according to a care team member working in a critical care step down unit in New Jersey.
The Vocera skill for Alexa can also save nurses valuable time by taking on standard patient education. For example, the skill can offer experiential learning for patients who need to do breathing exercises using an incentive spirometer after surgery. An Alexa-led lesson on incentive spirometry with configured reminders can benefit patient care, while off-loading this task from the nursing team. Another example of patient education via the skill may include basic lactation training. Additionally, a new mother on a labor and delivery floor can bring in her favorite lullabies, playlists, or ambient music and use Alexa to play these personal melodies during her and her baby’s stay. The Vocera skill for Alexa can also help reduce patient falls by using specific safety cues while engaging with high-risk patients.
With more than 20 years of experience in voice technology and more than 50 clinicians on staff at Vocera, we understand the benefits of hands-free communication in healthcare settings. The Vocera skill for Alexa will be a game-changing solution for smart hospitals, health systems, and skilled nursing facilities that want to enhance the way patients communicate with their nurses and other care team members. It can also be used in other service industries such as hospitality to elevate the consumer experience.
To learn more about the Vocera skill for Alexa or other innovations to create the smart patient room of the future, contact us.