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Amazon Health IT Partnership Aims to Enhance Clinical Communication

Amazon has partnered with a health IT company to create an ambient clinical intelligence tool that is set to streamline clinical communication. 

Health IT vendor Vocera has announced a collaboration with Amazon to build an ambient clinical intelligence solution in efforts to enhance the patient experience and streamline clinical communication.

The HIPAA-eligible solution will leverage a set of technologies from Alexa Smart Properties to allow patients and families to receive information about their stay through simple voice requests spoken to an Amazon Echo in the patient’s room.

The health IT will automatically answer common questions from patients that do not need clinical intervention, like visitor hours.

For requests that require clinical intervention, the tool will recognize keywords and phrases to route the message to the appropriate care team member. This is expected to streamline clinical communication by reducing unnecessary care team interruptions.

The system will prioritize patient requests for assistance by relevance and automatically escalate requests as needed. Additionally, the tool will deliver patient requests to team members with accompanying contextual information to improve patient care coordination.

“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,” Liron Torres, head of Alexa Smart Properties at Amazon, said in a press release.

“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,” Lorres continued.

The health IT tool will also provide patients with verbal updates about the status of each request to help put them at ease and enhance the patient experience.

“Vocera has more than 20 years of experience in voice communication technology; and with more than 50 clinicians on staff, we understand the benefits of hands-free communication and how it protects and connects patients and care teams,” said Dave Lively, senior vice president of Product Management at Vocera.

“We are excited to collaborate with Amazon to advance the power and convenience of voice communication to elevate the patient experience, improve safety, and save valuable time for nurses and other care team members,” Lively continued.

The health IT collaboration is an example of ambient intelligence entering the healthcare sector. Ambient intelligence refers to physical spaces that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of humans, according to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

The technology hinges on data collected by sensors and processors imbedded into everyday objects and utilizes machine learning algorithms for data analytics.

Ambient intelligence has several use cases that could potentially improve patient care and mitigate clinician burden in healthcare settings, including streamlined EHR documentation practices.

Ambient clinical intelligence leverages contact-based wearable devices and contactless sensors embedded in healthcare settings to collect information like audio data and imaging data of physical spaces, according to research published in ScienceDirect. Machine learning algorithms then efficiently interpret the data for clinical application.

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