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Next IT Debuts Alme Virtual Assistant Healthcare Platform

Alme's artificial intelligence-based agent lessens the load for healthcare providers.
By Michele Masterson - Posted Oct 18, 2013
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Next IT this week launched the Alme for Healthcare platform, which offers virtual assistant capabilities that can be deployed across mobile, Web, and chat interfaces.

Alme for Healthcare provides the following:

  • Conversational awareness that delivers a human-like experience with the ability to extract ideas and store them throughout the engagement.
  • Goal-based dialogue that solicits and gathers the necessary information to complete a task and then executes the task on behalf of the user.
  • Responsive formatting that learns user interaction preferences (talk, tap, type) and then formats interactions accordingly.
  • Observation verified behavior, so that if the user routinely answers questions in a specific way, Alme for Healthcare automatically applies the same format on their behalf.
  • Contextual set-up that learns basic user information (name, address etc.) and can auto-populate form-fields accordingly, saving time by prompting for confirmation rather than data entry.

According to Victor Morrison, vice president of healthcare at Next IT, the healthcare industry was challenging to model a new virtual assistant offering, and the company sought the help of Aetna, as well as doctors and patients, to build an understanding of the flows, concepts, and logic underlying healthcare.

"I call it the ultimate engagement platform," Morrison says. "We can replicate the [physician] experience whether it's on Web, mobile, or a device, and we can also enable other capabilities within this platform."

The healthcare virtual assistant platform is aimed at a wide scope of healthcare businesses, including payers, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, government organizations, and accountable care organizations. In addition to Aetna, the Alme virtual assistant platform is already being used by several clients outside of the healthcare industry, including Alaska Airlines, Amtrak, United Airlines, and the U.S. Army.

Alme-powered assistants offload help desk requests by responding to customer questions naturally, and four out of five customers get connected immediately with information or answers using Alme. Morrison says in pilot implementations of Alme for Healthcare, Next IT customers saw a 29 percent drop in healthcare company-associated costs without any reduction in customer satisfaction.

"Alme includes the ability to reach into the client or the healthcare entity back end and access information that they have on a given user so that we can continue to add context around that user," Morrison says.

"Users can develop a real relationship with the avatar, and that relationship starts to impact the ability to stay connected," Morrison says. "As users are talking to avatars everyday they can pull up behavioral insights that allows them to pinpoint and get the right information in front of them to drive outcomes. It's about the ability to enable resources at the users' convenience and determine what's valuable to them."

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