Cedars-Sinai, a hospital in Los Angeles, California, has begun a pilot program that placed an Amazon Echo in 100 patient rooms for hands-free nurse interaction and entertainment control, the hospital said in a statement.
The platform, called Aiva, is the first patient-centered voice assistant of its kind, according to Cedars-Sinai. To use the speaker, patients can just tell the device what they want. They can tell it to turn off the TV, for example, or even ask for a specific channel. Someone who needs help getting out of bed can say, “Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom.”
Peachy Hain, Cedars-Sinai’s executive director of medical and surgical services, was one of the main administrators behind bringing Alexa to patient rooms. “Patients young and old are now used to voice-activated devices in their homes. Since it’s familiar to them, it helps enhance their hospital experience,” Hain said. “In the hospital, patients have little to distract them from pain or loneliness.”
When a patient asks for assistance, the request is sent to a phone number of the applicable caregiver, such as a nurse, manager or admin. For example, if someone had a pain request, that would go to a nurse, but a bathroom request would go to a clinical partner. If no one answers in time, the patient’s request goes up the chain of command.
“Whereas previously, nurses were frequently asked to help with the in-room television, Alexa does that job for us, allowing nurses to focus on providing the highest level of patient care,” said Golda Morales, assistant nurse manager of general surgery.
Currently, the most common request by patients is for music, followed by requests for weather, sports or games.
“Smart rooms are all about improving satisfaction for both patients and nurses,” said Sumeet Bhatia, founder and CEO of Aiva. “Cedars-Sinai and Aiva are giving patients more entertainment options, more control over their environment and closer communication with their care team.”