Alexa, ask UCHealth

UCHealth offers virtual assistant, powered by conversational artificial intelligence, to help answer questions
August 6th, 2019

UCHealth now offers a virtual assistant who allows patients to interact universally across the health care system using conversational intelligence, accessed through smart speakers.

UCHealth’s vision that Livi be a fully functional, all-inclusive virtual assistant sets the health care system apart from others that have launched virtual assistants only for a few services or specific tasks. Visitors to www.uchealth.org can chat with Livi through text commands, and now spoken conversation is available via Amazon Alexa smart speakers. She can answer questions and share information about various health topics, and in just a few weeks she’ll be able to provide updates about weather, sports and other Colorado-specific inquiries.

Examples of voice-enabled smart speaker queries include:

  • I need an urgent care.
  • I’m looking for information on diabetes.
  • Get me the phone number for (specific doctor name).
  • Can you find me a neurologist?
  • Tell me a story. (Livi sends the latest UCHealth Today patient stories.)

To get started with Livi on an Alexa device, first add the UCHealth skill. The opening greeting is “Alexa, ask UCHealth.” In addition to being live now on Amazon smart speakers, the technology is currently undergoing testing as part of Google Assistant voice-enabled devices. On the UCHealth web site, Livi appears at the lower righthand corner of the screen. She introduces herself, and through a variety of links or dropdown menu options, users can message Livi about what they are looking to do – and the conversation appears on your screen like a messaging app.

“We’re focused on improving patients’ experiences with us in a convenient and accessible way,” said Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing and experience officer. “Patients want information at their fingertips – whether that be via phone, computer or even smart speakers – and we want to be able to give them what they need as quickly and easily as possible. Livi can offer visitors answers to questions and get them where they need to go immediately no matter the form of technology.”a photo of livi

UCHealth also is working to integrate its virtual assistant, Livi, into its electronic medical record system and its mobile app. Soon, Livi will go beyond helping patients find a physician, services and health information online – she will be able to connect patients with their personal health information. When the mobile app version launches, users will be able to ask Livi questions such as, “When is my next appointment?” or “What are my latest test results?”.

“Conversational AI is truly the future of how we will interact with almost everything in our lives, from our cars, to the web, and even health care,” said Ram Menon, founder and CEO of AI enterprise software company avaamo. “UCHealth’s CARE Innovation Center has partnered with us to develop and test this cutting-edge technology, and the health system is pushing the technology further than any other health care provider in the nation. Using voice recognition technology, this AI platform emulates human interaction.”

The technology ensures HIPAA compliance, guards Protected Health Information (PHI) and integrates into existing systems used by UCHealth, said Steve Hess, chief information officer for UCHealth.

“By leveraging the benefits of AI and implementing this technology at UCHealth, ultimately we are creating an efficient, seamless way for patients to get the information they need and gain greater access to preventive health care and the most advanced medicine and specialists in the Rocky Mountain region,” Hess said. “We worked with avaamo to ensure data privacy and regulatory compliance. Livi is a one-of-a-kind virtual assistant who will continue to grow smarter as questions are asked and answered, and can truly help create a unique patient experience.”

Livi does not diagnose any conditions or replace conversations with a doctor. The UCHealth app, available for ioS or Android, provides patients with their medical record and will be able to connect to Livi later this year.

 

About the author

Paula Freund is the public relations manager for UCHealth and can be reached at 720.848.5809 or via email.