Delaware-based ChristianaCare, a network of non-profit, private hospitals serving Delaware and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, has created a telehealth platform compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. The Home Care Coach mHealth app can be prescribed for patients receiving home care and will be able to be voice-activated through Amazon’s ubiquitous digital assistant, Alexa.
“We have a bold vision of the future: All care that can be digital will be digital, and all care that can be done in the home or in the community will be done in the home or in the community,” said Janice Nevin, MD, MPH, and CEO of ChristianaCare. “Engaging patients digitally is more important than ever right now, as it will help them reach their health goals, improve their experience, and shape the future of health care as we know it.”
The digital health and telehealth fields saw dramatic and rapid growth this year, as COVID-19 forced people to shelve their skepticism about virtual visits in favor of avoiding unnecessary travel. To curb the growing trend of patients missing appointments in order to stay home and lower their risk of infection, healthcare providers have begun offering more at-home options to keep their patients, and themselves, safe.
Home healthcare is a big part of ChristianaCare’s services. Providers performed almost 300,000 home health visits in 2019. With Home Care Coach, providers can customize the app with patient data and treatment plans. Patients can then “ask Alexa” about their medications, or for personalized advice on diet and exercise plans, and much more.
The Home Care Coach is HIPAA-compliant and renders ChristianaCare a pioneer in the voice care extension of the home health industry. Earlier this year, the Mayo Clinic developed an Alexa skill set specific to COVID-19. Users could ask Alexa questions about the virus’s symptoms and spread, as well as learn updated information on coronavirus case numbers. However, while that technology helped deliver valuable information, it did not come with a personalized option. ChristianaCare has taken the voice care concept a few steps further by bringing patient-specific care into the comfort of patients’ own homes.