Posts tagged with "Voice-activated"

Cedars-Sinai taps Alexa for smart hospital room pilot

February 28, 2019

Patience is not a virtue when you are a hospital patient seeking medical assistance. In fact, waiting too long for a nurse to respond after you’ve pushed the “hot button” can, in the worst cases, be the death of you.

Now, a pilot program underway in more than 100 patient rooms at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles is enabling patients to use an Alexa-powered platform known as Aiva to interact hands-free with nurses. Aiva is described as “the world’s first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals.”

In the pilot project, patient rooms are equipped with Amazon Echos and patients simply tell the device what they need. For example A patient who needs assistance getting out of bed might say, “Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom.”

The patient’s request is routed to the mobile phone of the appropriate caregiver—a nurse, clinical partner, manager, or administrator. A pain medicine request would be routed to a registered nurse, for example, while a bathroom request would be routed to a clinical partner. If the request is not answered in a timely manner, the Aiva platform sends it up the chain of command.

In addition, patients can use the voice-powered assistant to turn the TV off and on, and change channels, by giving verbal commands such as, “Alexa, change the channel to ESPN.”

“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.

In addition to interaction with the patient’s healthcare team, the devices at Cedars-Sinai include standard Alexa features, allowing patients to feel more connected to the outside world. Currently, the most common request is for the device to play music, followed by content like weather, sports and games.

Abdominal surgery patient Adrienne Edwards was one of the early users of Alexa. “It rocks,” Edwards said. “I was lonely in the hospital and I said, ‘Alexa, would you be my friend?’ The device responded, ‘Of course we could be friends. You seem very nice.'”

Peachy Hain, Cedars-Sinai’s executive director of Medical and Surgical Services, was one of the driving forces 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,” said Hain. “In the hospital, patients have little to distract them from pain or loneliness.”

Cedars-Sinai and Aiva are moving patient interaction into the 21st century, when hospital rooms will need more intelligence and convenience to accommodate changing patient needs.

“Smart rooms are all about improving satisfaction for both patients and nurses,” said Aiva CEO Sumeet Bhatia. “Cedars-Sinai and Aiva are giving patients more entertainment options, more control over their environment, and closer communication with their care team.”

The Alexa program joins innovations such as the MyChart bedside app and Cedars-Sinai’s iPad project in modernizing patient communications at Cedars-Sinai. More than 250 tablets equipped with the MyChart bedside app are now available for hospitalized patients, who can use the app to check their medical record information, including lab results, as well as the names and photos of their care team.

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Amazon offers new Alexa household appliances for a hands-free habitat

September 24, 2018

You work hard all day. Why cook at night, when Alexa can do it for you? A microwave is just one of the 70 new products announced by Amazon during its product blitz on September 20.

In addition to new Echo speakers and an advanced Fire TV Recast. the tech and delivery giant is rolling out a number of state-of-the-art interface devices that will operate your habitat in a hands-off mode.

USA Today reported on the top picks this week—among them:

  • AmazonBasics Microwave: At $59.99, the news outlet says, the latest microwave under the company’s AmazonBasics brand could be cheaper than your current, non-smart-enabled appliances. It integrates with Alexa over Bluetooth, allowing you to tell a nearby Echo smart speaker to set a timer for tasks such as heating up a potato or reordering popcorn. A blue “Ask Alexa” button on the front of the microwave enables you to you summon the digital assistant on command. Available for preorder, the microwave is scheduled to ship later this year.
  • Echo Wall Clock: No need to watch the time, your new clock—featuring Bluetooth to connect to an existing Echo device—has timers, alarms, and reminders galore. Since it is Internet-connected, the $29.99 timepiece it will adjust itself automatically at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time. The clock will be released later this year.
  • Amazon Smart Plug: If controlling the microwave isn’t enough, USA Today reports that Amazon’s new plug control other traditionally non-smart devices such as lamps and coffee makers, enabling you to turn them on and off with your voice.The Smart Plug is scheduled to start  shipping next month, and it will be available for $24.99.
  • Echo Auto: And finally, the news outlet reports, now you can enjoy the convenience of Alexa on the road. The new device features eight microphones that can pick up commands while you are behind the wheel. It also has Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your phone. Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary jack can be used to connect the device to your car. Once connected, you can ask Alexa for nearby destinations, directions—or to play music or audiobooks. Powered by either your car’s USB port or its 12V cigarette lighter outlet, Amazon says Echo Auto will be able to boot up within a “few seconds” after hitting the ignition.

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