Cedars-Sinai Alexa Pilot Enables Hands-Free Interaction Between Patients, Caregivers

Feb. 25, 2019

A pilot program ongoing in more than 100 patient rooms at Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai is allowing patients to use an Alexa-powered platform to interact hands-free with nurses and control their entertainment.

The platform, Aiva, is a patient-centered voice assistant tool for hospitals. As part of the pilot project, patient rooms are equipped with Amazon Echos and patients can tell the device what they need. For example, patients can turn their televisions off and on and change channels by giving verbal commands. A patient who needs assistance getting out of bed might say, "Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom."

According to a Cedars-Sinai press release, the patient's request is routed to the mobile phone of the appropriate caregiver, whether a nurse, clinical partner, manager or administrator. If the request is not answered in a timely manner, the Aiva platform sends it up the chain of command.

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 by asking the system what the weather outside is, for example.

Officials noted that Aiva participated in the Cedars -Sinai Accelerator in 2017, where the product was further developed and tested. Cedars-Sinai, through the Accelerator, was one of the company's first investors.

Aiva has since received funding from the Google Assistant Investment Program and Amazon's Alexa Fund. It also works with other voice assistants, such as Google Home. In addition to its use in hospitals, the Aiva platform also can be used at home and in senior living communities, officials point out.

"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."