BayCare Hospitals to Harness Alexa Voice Technology

BayCare Health System is deploying the Alexa voice assistant from Amazon in 2,500 hospital rooms across 14 Tampa Bay-area hospitals in Florida, allowing patients to connect with their care teams and control devices like televisions hands-free.

The technology is now being deployed at St. Joseph's Hospital-North in Lutz before being implemented system-wide.

BayCare uses a healthcare-specific platform known as Aiva to handle patient requests. Requests are immediately sent to the correct support person based on what a patient tells Aiva via an Alexa device installed in their rooms. Care team members receive the request on their BayCare iPhones.

"The patient can simply ask Alexa for things they need like a blanket or a glass of water," said Craig Anderson, BayCare's director of innovation, in a statement. "Aiva interprets all those requests and sends it to right person. It is a seamless connection between the patient and their care team."

The technology was piloted at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and Winter Haven Hospital in 2019 before being put in use at St. Joseph's Hospital-North in late 2020. Patients were highly satisfied with the Aiva technology in surveys during the pilot, Anderson said.

"Millions of Americans use voice assistants for comfort and convenience at home," said St. Joseph's Hospital-North president Tom Garthwaite in a statement. "Bringing this technology to the hospital room will help many people feel more comfortable, which ultimately supports their recovery."

Currently, Aiva also enables patients to control hospital room televisions via Alexa. With a simple voice request, patients can request a particular television channel and control the volume.

Anderson said BayCare plans for the Aiva technology to eventually control an entire room.

"Our goal is to make an entire smart hospital room," Anderson said. "Through voice commands you can ask for anything you need, you can get any entertainment you want, control the television, room lighting and temperature. Controlling window blinds is also potentially an option for the future. Technologies that are now standard in some homes will be available in the hospital room."

The Aiva technology using Alexa in hospital rooms also allows users to play music and ask for news, information, weather, trivia, and sports updates.

"The ability to play games and provide a vast spectrum of music choices provided comfort to patients in unique ways," said Anna Giles, a Winter Haven Hospital registered nurse who used the technology during the pilot, in a statement. "We're excited to see how this technology grows to benefit patients' well-being in the future."

"We're excited to partner with BayCare," said Sumeet Bhatia, founder and CEO of Aiva, in a statement. "We've always felt that the best health care technology does its work in the background, giving clinicians more freedom and patients more control."<.p>

Anderson said BayCare will have the largest deployment of Aiva technology using Alexa for a U.S. health system.This is bringing consumer-friendly technology into the medical space to provide the same value we get every day from our voice-assistants like Alexa," he said.

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