Over 100 patients staying at Cedars-Sinai can now ask Alexa to control their TVs and call their nurses for them. The hospital has launched a pilot program to test an Alexa-powered healthcare platform called "Aiva," putting Echo speakers in over a hundred hospital rooms. According to Cedars-Sinai, Aiva is the "the world's first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals." Patients can use it to call for help when needed, especially if they're not mobile and unable to use their hands. For instance, they can say: "Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom."
Aiva will then notify the appropriate caregiver for the task, whether it's a nurse or a doctor, by sending a message straight to their phone. A request for pain meds will go straight to a registered nurse, for instance, while a request for bathroom help would go to a clinical partner.
In addition, patients can use standard Alexa features to control their in-room entertainment options. They can tell the voice assistant to switch the TV on or off, to change the channel, to play music on the Echo, to read audiobooks or to tell them the latest weather and sports information. That could free up nurses' time for more important tasks.
Peachy Hain, Cedars-Sinai's executive director of Medical and Surgical Services, explained that the use of voice-activated devices can help "enhance [patients'] hospital experience." She added that "[i]n the hospital, patients have little to distract them from pain or loneliness." In a way, Alexa could serve not just as a convenient means to get a hold of their doctors and nurses, but also as a way to give them some degree of independence.