Healthcare Conversational AI Startup Avaamo Deploys Voice Assistants for Medical Record Firm Epic’s More Than 250M Patients
Healthcare-focused voice AI developer Avaamo has embedded four variations of its HIPAA-compliant virtual assistant to interact with the patients whose information is stored by on medical records giant Epic. More than 250 million patients have some data on Epic’s servers, and Avaamo’s infrastructure will offer voice AI through smart speakers, mobile devices, websites, and phone calls. The voice assistant will help pick reduce some of the demand on healthcare workers, especially as telehealth skyrocketed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Epic Health Talk
Avaamo’s voice AI will serve as the basis for multiple patient engagement tools. There are four main permutations of the virtual assistant operating different services for Epic. The care navigation service offers a voice assistant for patients to talk to about finding a doctor and clinic to go to, getting information about the procedures available there, including answering questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The second facet is appointment management, which is exactly what it sounds like. The voice assistant on the smart speaker or phone can find and make doctor appointments, including vaccine injections. The AI can guide the user through the whole process, from registering and filling in or transferring their medical history to a new physician to checking into the appointment when it’s time.
The next version of Avaamo’s AI is virtual patient support, which handles insurance updates, retrieves test results, and registers the user for Epic’s system in the first place. Should the AI not be able to answer a question or if the user would prefer, it can also connect to a human agent instead. The final side of Avaamo in Epic’s system is the outbound calling programs. This is a proactive campaigning tool that healthcare providers can use to automate calls to patients about signing up for insurance or Medicare, arranging flu shots and anything else people might forget about that the healthcare network wants to give a heads-up about. Unlike a standard robocall, the voice calling patients isn’t just a recorded message, but an AI that can help answer follow-up questions and ideally stick in people’s minds better after they hang up than a traditional auto-dial message.
Partnering with Epic is an enormous milestone for Avaamo. Epic and its approximately 10,000 employees oversee more than a quarter of a billion people’s medical data drawn from most of the major U.S. healthcare networks and earning the Wisconsin-based company approximately $3 billion a year, according to Business Insider. Though Epic used AI and automation for some patient interactions, it was far from being as broad or complex as Avaamo’s platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated interest in AI-powered information services in many industries, but it is particularly notable in healthcare, which is often slower to incorporate new communications tech. Demand for virtual assistants by hospitals and clinics soared, and the phones at companies like Orbita, Hyro, and Avaamo haven’t stopped ringing since. The vaccine rollout only added to the demand for AI to help doctors keep people informed and schedule their shots, which led to the creation of Nuance’s COVID-19 vaccine bots from the like of Nuance and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
“The COVID-19 vaccine has added a new set of challenges to healthcare organizations rebounding from the impacts of the pandemic,” Avaamo CTO Sriram Chakravarthy said in a statement. “Requirements to support remote appointments, care navigation, vaccination scheduling, eligibility screening, and vaccine outreach are placing unmanageable demands on health system call centers and staff, creating a need for automating patient experiences in a natural intuitive way.”