News And Research
Here you will find the latest Vocera news, announcements, customer stories and research.
What You Should Know:
– Vocera announced a collaboration with Amazon to deliver Vocera skill for Alexa. This HIPAA-compliant solution provides an easy, personal, and direct way for hospitalized patients and aged care residents to connect with their caregivers and more.
– Through the hands-free 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. Vocera skill for Alexa provides verbal updates to patients about the status of each request.
Vocera Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCRA), a leader in clinical communication and workflow solutions, announced it collaborated with Amazon to build a Vocera skill for Alexa. The skill leverages a set of technologies from Alexa Smart Properties and will be HIPAA-eligible for healthcare customers.
Vocera Skill for Alexa Advances Care Communication
The Vocera skill for Alexa will expand the Vocera ecosystem to provide a hands-free and immersive voice experience to patients and families. The new Vocera skill for Alexa is designed to make it easier and faster for patients and families to get information about their stay and reach the right care team members with simple voice requests spoken to an Amazon Echo in the patient’s room. The intelligent solution is also designed to reduce unnecessary interruptions to the care team and minimize cognitive overload among clinicians.
How It Works
The Vocera skill for Alexa will advance the patient experience offered in hospitals and health systems. Patient requests will be delivered to the appropriate team member on their device of choice, including the Vocera Badge, Smartbadge, or Vina smartphone application. The Vocera skill for Alexa will recognize keywords and phrases and use Vocera Engage software to determine the appropriate person to receive the message, thereby reducing interruptions and streamlining workflow.
Verbal updates to patients about the status of each request will help put patients at ease, knowing their requests are heard and being resolved. Common questions from patients that do not need clinical intervention, such as visitor hours, will be answered automatically through the Vocera skill. Patient requests for assistance will be 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 patient care.
“We believe the intuitive and accessible nature of voice and Alexa has the potential to help and delight customers in many scenarios, in and outside of the home,” said Liron Torres, Head of Alexa Smart Properties, Amazon. “We’re excited to work with Vocera and extend the voice experiences customers already love to healthcare systems, and give care providers new ways to save time and personalize care for their patients.”
Deanna Parker of Baptist Health Hardin saw her ER transform itself to respond to the pandemic.
Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare team members deserve working environments that protect their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. They also deserve equitable support and access to resources and tools to care for themselves and the patients they serve. At the heart of safety is a commitment from hospital leaders to build cultures that empower employees with essential equipment, technologies, and protocols that protect their well-being and enable them to work at the highest level of their skills.
After nearly two years, COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on exhausted nurses, doctors, and others frontline workers. The pandemic, causing needless death and elevated stress levels, has burned out many of our caregivers. Some are retiring early, some are changing professions, and others are leaving the workforce entirely. The cognitive burden that healthcare workers are carrying, and have been carrying even before the pandemic, is extremely heavy. The emotional toll is unimaginable.
We must find ways to protect and support every care team member or we risk losing more of them too soon. The future of our healthcare system depends on what we do now.
To start, we must identify the root causes of staff shortages. Let’s call out what is harming the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of healthcare workers. COVID-19, cognitive overload, and burnout are not the only things threatening their well-being.
Workplace violence, racial disparities, and bias are also contributing to the trauma healthcare workers must endure. While these threats existed well before the pandemic, the last 24 months have put a spotlight on the urgent need to protect the safety of our nation’s healthcare workforce who have risked so much to protect us.
Several health system CEOs from across the country have signed The Heart of Safety Declaration of Principles to redefine safety in healthcare and drive action for meaningful change. The three pillars of the Declaration highlighted below are helping galvanize support by other healthcare leaders, technology companies, policy makers, and more.
Safeguard psychological and emotional safety. We must eliminate stigmas associated with seeking mental health support and advance a culture of open communication, so people feel safe to speak up and are empowered as equal and valued members of the care team. The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is an excellent start.
Promote health justice by declaring equity and anti-racism core components of safety. Healthcare team members deserve to work in environments free from bias and discrimination. A recent UCLA study showed the proportion of Black physicians in the U.S. has increased by only four percentage points over the last 120 years. Focused policies and practices are needed to advance diversity, inclusion, and belonging in healthcare environments, which in turn enables more equitable care delivery.
Ensure physical safety. Healthcare workers are five times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than staff in other industries. Zero-harm programs must be implemented to eliminate workplace violence, both physical and verbal.
Policies, protocols, and training staff how to handle a violent situation are important, but they are not enough. Hospitals and health systems need to give nurses, doctors, and other team members the ability to easily and quickly call for help when a situation escalates.
Many hospitals have equipped employees with wearable communication devices that enable emergency communication, such as a dedicated panic button, and understand simple voice commands while wearing the device under personal protective equipment (PPE).
Intelligent communication technology can also help safeguard team members from mental and emotional distress. All day long, clinicians are overloaded with complex processes, competing priorities, and interruptions by calls, texts, and alert and alarm notifications from nurse call systems, patient monitors, ventilators, and more. These communications are often not actionable, causing clinicians to feel lost and overwhelmed, spending valuable time looking for information or a colleague to help.
A unified communication and collaboration solution can reduce distractions, noise, and stress, which have increased during the pandemic. It can eliminate loud overhead paging and help organize and prioritize notifications so they only go with contextual information to the person or team who needs them and can act. Managing alerts and alarms creates a quieter healing environment, while helping reduce the cognitive burden on the healer.
There are many ways to help protect and connect team members. Together, with more collaboration and a renewed commitment to safety, we can accelerate the adoption of these solutions to safeguard our nation’s healthcare workers for a brighter future of caring.
Michael Minear, senior vice president and CIO for Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) in Pennsylvania, has seen digital transformation accelerate dramatically during the pandemic, including innovations such as the recent deployment of a mobile app to help families follow a patient's progress in the emergency room. No matter what happens after the pandemic, “I don't think we're ever going to go back to not being as digital as we are, and I think that's a good thing,” Minear said.
LVHN is the first U.S. health system in the U.S. to deploy the new Vocera EASE ER app that allows families to follow a loved one’s emergency room progress on their mobile phone. It is also the first to integrate the cloud-based app with its electronic health record system.
Minear said LVHN has been using the ER app only a little over a month, but they had deployed the EASE app first in surgery units and then in a number of inpatient units where people are staying longer than a day or two. “In all cases before the ER module, there was never an interface with Epic, and we didn't need one,” he said, “but with this one, we really needed the interface. And I think as EASE became part of Vocera, they got a lot more depth from Vocera on how to do interfaces.”
He said the scale and pace of clinical work in the ER made the Epic interface important. As events are happening, they are noted in the EHR and the information is automatically interfaced to the EASE ER app, so the staff doesn't have to send notes; they are generated via automation. Examples of 25 automated messages include updates on room assignments and scheduled tests. To enhance security, messages sent disappear after 60 seconds of screen time, Minear said, and nothing is saved on the recipients’ mobile devices.
The project went live on Oct. 6, and more than 2,600 messages were sent in the first week of operation to loved ones in 11 states as far away as Hawaii, California and Florida. Plans include offering messaging in Spanish and other languages.
After piloting the app’s usage in the Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest ER, LVHN has plans to roll it out across all 10 of its hospitals. The app is important, Minear said, because even after some hospital entry restrictions have been lifted, some people are hesitant to bring family members into the ER, and sometimes the hospital might have to limit numbers of people accompanying patients.
During the height of the region’s initial pandemic surge in spring of 2020, Minear’s IT teams sprung into high gear to improve communication capabilities across its hospital campuses. “When we had to shut off visitors, it was really quite dramatic,” he said. “We were having a lot of very sick people and some dying, no different than a lot of other hospitals. Previously we had iPads in every room, but we literally didn't let them communicate with the outside world. That was the mindset pre-pandemic. Over a period of four or five days, we had our techs work around the clock to rebuild every iPad and add options like videoconferencing. We had a patient wake up after a long intubation use the iPad to call his family and tell them that he was alive. It was a big deal.”
When PPE was in short supply, the IT teams at LVHN also set it up so patients could use iPads to talk to a physician at the nursing station. “We actually removed the brains from the ventilators and used longer cabling and tubing to put the brain in the hall, so the nurses and doctors wouldn't have to put PPE on again to go in the patient room to look at the ventilator settings and make adjustments,” Minear said. “There were a lot of examples like that where we were doing things we would never have thought of before. We had to adapt.”
In addition, in about a week, LVHN moved about 3,000 people to remote work across the organization. The IT team has about 525 people and probably 40 to 50 percent of them — the analysts and programmers — worked from home, but the clinical engineering people and technicians never went home. “We still have a fair number of remote workers. Like most organizations, some of our teams will stay hybrid or remote.”
Minear said he has been a CIO for over 35 years. “I've never seen a challenge like this. I think the physician leaders and nursing leaders will say the same thing about how they have experienced the pandemic,” he said. “But in our case, I think we were lucky, and the EASE app is one example. We had secure texting deployed. We had the ability to do remote work with VPN and other technologies. And we actually had the ability to do pretty expensive video visits in Epic. To make all the changes necessary, they had people working 15 to 16 hours a day. “We had people who just burned the candle to get a lot of this stuff done, and I'm very proud of them. And we're not the only hospital to do that, but I think our teams were very successful in the pandemic.”
One of the first issues to address is the culture of acceptance about violence in nursing. Rhonda Collins, the chief nursing officer at Vocera Communications, a healthcare technology company, cautions that "workplace violence should not and does not 'come with the territory' of being a nurse. Healthcare leaders must aggressively act to address this epidemic by validating concerns and ensuring nurses are heard and respected when reporting violent acts."
What follows are some suggestions for proactive approaches to prevent workplace violence.
At the individual level:
Nurses should also be aware of their surroundings, taking into account poorly-lit areas, placement of emergency exits, and crowded public spaces. Nurses can minimize risks by avoiding clothing or jewelry that can be grabbed or pulled. They should exhibit caution when dealing with patients and others who exhibit aggressive verbal cues (e.g., swearing or threatening language), and non-verbal behaviors (e.g., indications of drug or alcohol abuse or throwing objects.)
At the employee level:
Nurses should become familiar with their employer's health and safety policies, report any incidents, and support employees who have experienced violence. Nurses need to become involved in the development of safety policies, procedures, and emergency plans. All personnel should take advantage of available employer-sponsored programs or professional development opportunities on how to respond and prevent violence and how to use de-escalation techniques.
At the employer level:
Collins and other nursing leaders argue that healthcare organizations must adopt a "zero-tolerance policy" on workplace violence. In addition to sponsoring educational and support programs, healthcare facilities must develop clear procedures for reporting violent incidents. To combat underreporting, employers must respond to violence seriously. Management has a responsibility to encourage staff to press charges against persons who commit assaults and to support employees when they report these incidents to law enforcement.
Healthcare facilities should upgrade and maintain security procedures and security systems, develop emergency response protocols, and hire sufficient security personnel. Collins suggests that employers provide nurses "with a wearable panic button that calls safety and security personnel so nurses don’t have to reach for a light on the wall when in distress."
At the legislative level:
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration does not require employers to implement violence prevention programs, but it provides voluntary guidelines and may cite employers who fail to maintain a safe workplace environment. In early 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Workplace Violence Prevention Act for HealthCare and Social Workers, but it has not yet received Senate approval.
Although no federal laws currently protect healthcare worker safety, several states have passed legislation to protect them from workplace violence. These measures include the establishment of penalties for assaults on nurses, creating a disturbance inside a healthcare facility, or interfering with ambulance service. Only a small number of states require employer workplace prevention programs.
While nurses were in short supply before 2020, the coronavirus pandemic and stress on front-line health care workers exacerbated the shortage of nursing staff globally. This urgent call-to-action became the rallying cry and objective for this weekend’s #NurseHack4Health, “The Front Line Is Shrinking,” with the goal of building a sustainable workforce of the future.
I’m grateful to the nurse leadership teams at Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, and Sonsiel for inviting me to participate in another round of the #NurseHack4Health hackathon pitches over the past weekend.
This year inspired nearly 800 registrants from at least 48 countries to convene via Microsoft Teams for one huge, timely and profound purpose: to acknowledge and improve the state of nursing for nurses, for patients, and for health care. Whether working in rural America, urban Britain, central Mumbai or suburban Auckland, the nursing profession s in a world of hurt.
And this hurts Everyone.
The nurse-hackers organized in teams across four tracks of themes to address the sustainable nurse workforce:
Diversity in practice and care
Education, upskilling, professional development
Driving administrative efficiency in nursing care delivery, and
An Open Track which hosted new-new innovations to restore and re-imagine sustainability for now and future nurses and nursing.
I collaborated on Track 4, which featured four fascinating and creative solutions with unique and compelling approaches for their hacks.
Team Empower, which went right for the Quadruple Aim — that fourth leg of the health sustainability stool of clinician-nurse burnout — and a solution incorporating “3 C’s” of clarity (of role and validating work), comfort, and community. This solution leveraged consumer-facing digital platforms like the Apple Watch and Fitbit trackers, and sought sponsorships in the larger health/care/retail ecosystem like meal preparation channels and retail coupons that fit into nurses’ everyday life-flows.
Nurse Wellness in the Digital Age, focusing on the severe anxiety and stress that precede trauma in the moment at work when a nurse is dealing with a patient acutely in in what becomes an acute moment-of-truth for the nurse. This solution confronted the datapoint that two in three nurses working in critical care are considering leaving their jobs. One of the tool’s outcomes created a kind of heat map that illustrated just where and when the most high-anxiety sites in an organization were emerging. At the same time, the care provider would receive personalized messages to breathe, to feel acknowledged, and to take a moment to pause.
The Price is Right, such an appropriate name for a “reverse pipeline” workforce solution that to me felt like Uber Meets eBay Meets Nursing. The team pointed out that the nursing pipeline is “linear,” yet there is so much nurse human capital outside the clinical setting — whether nurses who have retired, those in administration, or others who have left the field entirely. Yet many of these nurses would like to get back to clinical work — perhaps not full-time, but more in a gig model. This solution would/could go well beyond the reverse-pipeline model but appeal to many nurses who, in the wake of the pandemic, seek greater flexibility for their own work- and life-flows.
Transit Care, the fourth of our track hacks, addressed the common story of a patient moving from one setting to another — say, from a memory care unit to an ER due to a fall — with the patient’s information failing to follow the patient when she’s admitted to the emergency department. Information can in fact be missing, inaccurate, conflicting, and/or incomplete, the team explained. The consequences of this information gap can result in readmission, poor outcomes, or worse — major adverse events. The solution built a QR code embedded with the patient’s full data (clinical, social determinants, and other relevant bits of information to complete the patient’s profile) with a designated caregiver at both ends of the transfer — from the originating site to the admission site.
As this circle graphic illustrates, a good hack starts with a story — which each of our four solutions on Track 4 indeed did — a tool that meets a real need, can be iterated, tested, and finally scaled.
One of the biggest benefits for those of us involved in hackathons is the community we continue to build through participating in them. So it was joyful for me — even working on this on a Sunday! we on our panel-team discussed during the process — to work in virtual arm in arm via Teams with:
Oriana Beaudet, VP of Innovation at ANA Enterprises
Rhonda Collins, Chief Nursing Officer with Vocera
Lindsey Roddy, a nurse entrepreneur from Milwaukee, and
Patrick Zummo, a health-hacker himself and innovator with the Mayo Clinic.
You can read more about these and other wonderful nurse leaders here on the panelists’ portal for #NurseHack4Health.
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is the first health system in the United States to deploy the new Vocera Ease ER app that allows families to follow a family member’s emergency room progress on their phone from anywhere in the nation.
LVHN is the first to integrate the secure, cloud-based app with its electronic health records (EHR) system.
The emergency department at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH) - Cedar Crest is the first hospital in the LVHN system to implement the app.
After it was launched Oct. 6, more than 2,600 messages were sent in the first week of operation to family members in 11 states as far away as Hawaii, California and Florida. Plans include expanding the app to LVHN’s other hospitals as well as offering messaging in Spanish and other languages.
Vocera Communications, Inc., a leader in clinical communication and workflow solutions, works with health systems to deploy the mobile solution, which was created to improve patient experience and family communication while reducing the cognitive burden of care-teams members.
Vocera Ease ER automatically delivers secure, automated messages to patients and their family based on real-time status updates from hospital electronic health records.
Examples of 25 automated messages include updates on room assignments, scheduled tests and more. The app is not intended for use with seriously ill or injured patients where hospital staff is traditionally in more direct contact with patient families.
Patients must sign a consent form to participate in the Ease program, and patients decide who will receive secure updates on their treatment.
“The app helps provide consistent communication with patients and families between in-person interactions with clinicians and staff, helping patients know when and what to expect next. That’s reassuring and provides peace of mind,” said Richard MacKenzie, MD, senior vice chair of emergency and hospital medicine at LVHN.
LVHN’s EASE webpage, LVHN.org/ease-app, contains helpful information and offers links to download the app to a mobile device.
Clinical and information technology teams at LVH - Cedar Crest worked closely with the Vocera professional services team to automate messages based on patient status. Messages sent from Vocera Ease ER disappear after 60 seconds of screen time, and nothing is saved on the recipients’ mobile devices, adding an extra level of security. The app, which can be used on Android and iOS devices, is free for patients and their loved ones.
“We are excited to work with the Vocera Ease team to expand the ER app to emergency departments across our network,” said Michael Minear, senior vice president and chief information officer, LVHN.
LVHN previously partnered with the Ease team in 2017 when the health system launched the initial Ease messaging app to provide operating room updates to patient families. Unlike the Ease ER app, Ease messages from the operating room are generated by staff and are not automated and linked to the hospital’s EHR system.
LVH - Cedar Crest has the largest emergency department in Pennsylvania, with its emergency care and Level I trauma center operations, including its children’s emergency room, spanning more than 160,000-square-feet.
When Laura (Diaz) Freeland ’08 gave birth to her twin daughters 17 weeks early in December 2019, she didn’t know she would soon rely on an app to stay connected to her children over the next several difficult months. The first time she saw her firstborn was through the Vocera Ease app, which provides secure text, photo and video updates to patients’ families and friends. Over a very long NICU stay — 135 days for Vivienne and 224 days for Margot — she learned just how much comfort Ease could provide.
“I [was physically unable] to bring myself to visit the NICU right away, so for the first two weeks everything I knew about my daughters, I learned through Ease,” Freeland wrote in a Vocera blog post. “They had about 12 surgeries between them. Through Ease, we got real-time messages and photos before, during and after the procedure at the discretion of the medical team. … It’s the most peace of mind parents will ever have while their children are hospitalized.”
Launched in 2013, the concept for Ease came from a former hospital administrator and three doctors at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. During the early stages, UCF alum Matthew Kanagy ’08 ’14MBA served as chief operating officer and managed the technical development for Ease. In August 2020, the app was acquired by Vocera Communications, a healthcare tech giant, and now Kanagy serves as the vice president for the Vocera Ease business unit.
“Before Ease, I felt like there was a gap where new technology, new ideas and new products needed to be introduced to healthcare to do things like create more transparency of care,” Kanagy says. “I saw Ease as a really great solution that provides that needed transparency and improves communication in the hospital space.”
With patient care as the top priority, Ease was developed to seamlessly fit into nurses’ workflow. Ease messages are distributed to each patient’s group of family and friends by using the same method nurses use to administer medication: scanning medical bracelets.
To make sure patient information remains private, each Ease message self-deletes within 60 seconds after the recipient views it. Kanagy developed this security feature and other solutions to ensure Ease maintains HIPAA compliance — one of the biggest challenges of developing healthcare technology. He credits his studies in digital media and business at UCF, along with industry experience, for giving him the skills needed to make the app a success.
“The digital media program at UCF was very well rounded and gave me an idea of all the things required to understand the digital marketplace,” Kanagy says. “When I got my master’s degree years later, it taught me a lot of the foundational elements of running a business and also how to go into a boardroom, present an idea and effectively communicate with leadership.”
During the pandemic, Ease served an even greater purpose as visitors were not allowed in most hospitals across the nation — where hundreds of thousands of people were isolated with COVID-19. Last year, 742,000 messages were sent through Ease to 260,000 patients’ family and friends across all area codes in the United States.
While historically used in surgical units, the app also became more in demand in intensive care units and on medical floors — using video and photo features to bring patients closer to their loved ones during a critical time.
“We had some hospitals using Ease to update families so they would have the opportunity to see videos and photos of their loved ones who sometimes were in an end-of-life stage because of COVID,” Kanagy says. “And to me, making this connection when visitation wasn’t permitted felt like a sacred thing. Being able to help these families see their loved ones was very meaningful.”
Since Ease was acquired by Vocera, the app’s reach has grown to even more hospitals, and its Orlando team has doubled in number, Kanagy says. With nearly 8,500 reviews across application stores, he says they’re continuing to evolve Ease.
“I always really appreciate hearing patient and family stories because it helps drive us,” Kanagy says. “Our focus is on the end user, so one of the things I most enjoy is looking at the product each day and saying, ‘What can we do to make this a better experience for the patient and family?’ ”
Amazon announced two new solutions as part of Alexa Smart Properties that will enable senior living and healthcare providers to integrate Alexa into their properties and empower residents and patients to stay connected, informed and entertained, just by asking Alexa. Designed specifically for the needs of senior living communities and healthcare facilities, Alexa Smart Properties simplifies deploying and managing Alexa-enabled devices at scale, helping properties offer customized Alexa experiences for residents and patients, and increase care team productivity and operational efficiency.
“We believe the intuitive and accessible nature of voice and Alexa has the potential to help and delight customers in many scenarios, in and outside of the home,” said Liron Torres, Head of Alexa Smart Properties, Amazon. “We’re excited to extend the experiences customers already love to senior living communities and healthcare systems, and give providers new ways to save time and personalize care for their patients and residents.”
Empowering Connection in Senior Living Communities
Alexa Smart Properties enables senior living residents to keep in touch with their loved ones, connect with their community, access community news, and more, using the Amazon Echo device in their room. Family members and friends outside the property get peace of mind knowing they can easily get in touch with residents through Alexa calling.
Administrators can offer access to tens of thousands of Alexa skills, and tailor resident experiences by customizing community information like activity schedules and meal menus. Care team members can communicate more efficiently with residents using Alexa communication features, which enable them to make Announcements, voice and video calls, or send direct audio messages to other Alexa-enabled devices throughout the property. Alexa can also help communities streamline activities like check-ins, field requests for maintenance, and administrative tasks—enabling associates to save time and increase productivity. Senior living communities like Atria and Eskaton will integrate with Alexa Smart Properties at select locations to provide a better experience for residents, while creating empowered and more connected communities.
“We’ve consistently moved to put our residents in the position to live their best lives, now,” said John A. Moore, Chairman and CEO of Atria Senior Living. “Technology has played a critical role in this effort. When you combine our resident and family app with the deployment of Alexa Smart Properties in our communities, seniors have an even greater ability to write the next chapter of their lives through easy-to-use technology that keeps them engaged and connected to their families at all times.”
Helping Hospitals Deliver Personalized Care
With Alexa Smart Properties, patients can communicate with their care staff, control devices in their room, or stay informed and entertained with news and music, just by asking Alexa. Healthcare providers can communicate with patients quickly and easily with features like calling and Drop In—without the need to enter patient rooms. This enables hospitals to increase productivity, conserve medical supplies and protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, and gowns, and free up staff time to provide more personalized care. Hospitals also can provide information customized to their facility, like notifications about schedule changes or cafeteria menus, and skill experiences like games, podcasts, and more. Health systems including Boston Children’s Hospital, Cedars-Sinai, BayCare, and Houston Methodist are adopting Alexa Smart Properties to help care for their patients more efficiently.
“Voice is intuitive for patients, regardless of age or tech savviness,” said Peachy Hain, executive director of Medical and Surgical Services at Cedars-Sinai. “Since it’s so easy to operate, patients can use Alexa to connect with their care team and stay entertained as soon as they settle in, while care providers can streamline tasks to make more time to care for those patients. It’s a total gamechanger for enhancing our hospital experience.”
Deploying Solutions at Scale with Alexa Smart Properties
In addition to support for senior living and healthcare, Alexa Smart Properties offers a set of vertical solutions that enable Alexa experiences in properties such as hotels, vacation rentals, apartments, offices, and more. Alexa Smart Properties tools and APIs make it fast and easy for solution providers to manage and service a fleet of Alexa-enabled devices quickly, remotely, and at scale. By working with solution providers like K4Connect, Lifeline Senior Living, Aiva, and Vocera, senior living and healthcare properties can use Alexa Smart Properties to easily deploy and customize large numbers of Alexa-enabled devices.
“Working with Alexa Smart Properties has enabled Aiva to bring AI voice technology that can be easily customized, managed, and deployed at enterprise scale,” said Sumeet Bhatia, founder and chief executive officer of Aiva. “Using Alexa Smart Properties, Aiva takes work off of nurses’ plates and enables them to focus on direct, high-value care, while giving patients a better, more self-directed experience.”
With the help of solution providers, administrators can build, publish and enable skills to answer property-specific questions and integrate with other property management systems, so residents and patients can request property information like, “Alexa, what time does yoga start?” and perform property-specific actions like, “Alexa, could you ask for my mail to be delivered?” Hospitals and senior living communities can also build and enable HIPAA-eligible skills, like medication tracking, to connect care providers with residents and patients in an environment designed to protect their health information.
“Voice integration has the power to transform how resident requests are made and how staff respond,” said Kim Judd, General Manager of Lifeline Senior Living. “Adding Alexa Smart Properties functionality to our CarePoint resident safety system enables residents to make hands-free help requests and receive verbal confirmation to know they’ve been heard. And staff can see the context of requests and triage more efficiently. It opens up new opportunities for better care, from simple requests to daily announcements, resident check-ins, even helping to ease social isolation, CarePoint with Alexa will be a real advantage for our customers.”
Built with Privacy in Mind
Alexa Smart Properties senior living and healthcare solutions were designed with privacy in mind. No personal information is shared with Alexa to use the device, and voice recordings are not saved. Every Amazon Echo device offers multiple layers of privacy protection, and residents and patients can disable Alexa’s ability to respond to the wake word at any time by simply pressing the mute button on top of their Echo device. Amazon implements administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for protected health information received as part of HIPAA-eligible skill interactions.