LifePod’s Proactive Voice Assistant Joins Massachusetts Healthcare Organization
The LifePod proactive virtual caregiver is now part of a Massachusetts healthcare plan. More than 500 members of the Commonwealth Care Alliance will be able to use Lifepod’s voice service, which is designed to improve the care and support of aging or socially isolated people.
LifePod’s healthcare AI differs from other voice services by including a proactive dialogue. Using a specialized smart speaker created by iHome, caregivers can personalize a routine. LifePod can ask them if they’ve remembered their medication, remind them about their doctor appointments, or let them know about upcoming family birthdays. At the same time, it can let caregivers know in real-time about how well users are following the care plans.
LifePod’s language processing and other voice assistant software use an undisclosed third-party service. The unique iHome is necessary because existing hardware on using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are not able to offer the proactive features of the platform. LifePod started taking early reservations for the device in June. The public version will debut in late September.
The CCA is a non-profit with more than 32,000 members, all of whom are dual-eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Earlier this year, LifePod and CCA ran a pilot study, giving 52 members early editions of the voice service. The results impressed CCA enough to decide to bring LifePod to ten times that number of its members.
“CCA specializes in care for people with complex medical conditions and multiple chronic conditions who get at-home care,” said LifePod CEO Stuart Patterson in an interview with Voicebot. “We had 15 to 20 CCA care partners trained on how to support patients with LifePod, and got some pretty impressive results.”
Patients interacted with the voice assistant an average of nine times a day. Along with the proactive reminders, they would ask it to play music or for information about weather, much like any other voice assistant. Because LifePod could help keep users on their care plans without needing a staff member, the overall cost of care dropped, but those using the LifePod reported being happy to have it.
“The pilot was only three months, but they don’t want to give them up now,” Patterson said. “They and the 500 new patients will get the new production version of LifePod on special iHome devices that have been retrofitted with LifePod firmware. CCA will be the first institutional client to get them, and they have plans to go beyond just these 500. There will be more to come. We expect to announce new institutional partners every two to three weeks until the rollout.”