Virtual assistant tech assists home healthcare

A home healthcare company will be trialling its ‘groundbreaking’ voice assistant in the UK to identify problems earlier and reduce emergency room visits. 

UK based Cera boasts a 55% reduction in readmissions to hospitals and emergency departments after trials around Europe which see automated phone calls to patients using an AI powered virtual assistant. 

CEO and Co-founder of Cera, Dr Ben Maruthappu MBE, said: ‘This voice assistant is the innovative next step in our journey to becoming the leader in digital-first healthcare-at-home, as we look to support the NHS in managing unprecedented pressures. 

‘An automated phone call could save a call to emergency services – critical when staff burnout and waiting lists are at an all-time high – by monitoring health deteriorations through smart machine learning.’ 

The pilot UK trial will first roll out in four regions across England and Scotland and initially focus on identifying COVID-19 and flu symptoms as the NHS deals with a huge rise in flu patients using hospital beds compared to last year. The trial will also look at monitoring the health conditions of chronic patients.

Patients who use the virtual assistant will be asked a series of medical questions which are then analysed using machine learning to identify any significant information and changes before sending alerts to carers if a doctor’s visit is needed. 

Cera’s trial follows a similar effort by the NHS to use technology to monitor health at home with digital versions of the NHS Health Check which will allow patients between 40 and 74 to complete a health check without needing to attend a doctor’s appointment. 

When speaking about the digital health checks, the Minister for Public Health, Neil O’Brien, said: ‘Innovation is key to a modern, forward-looking National Health Service.’ 

Described as ‘Europe’s largest provider of digital-first home healthcare’, Cera’s technology and data analysis has reportedly reduced hospitalisation rates by 52% and anticipated 80% of hospitalisation a week in advance. 

The virtual assistant trial will be rolled out across all four involved regions before Christmas.

Photo: Cera


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