Alexa is now easing the pain for hospital patients

A hospital in Los Angeles is placing Amazon Echo speakers in patients’ rooms, enabling them to use Alexa to call for help from nurses.

The new, custom-built ‘Aiva’ system is ‘the world’s first patient-centred voice assistant platform for hospitals’ and is currently on trial in 100 rooms at Cedars-Sinai hospital in LA. It gives patients the opportunity to ask questions, control the in-room entertainment, or request help via the voice-controlled personal assistant,

The information will be relayed directly to the relevant caregiver’s phone, depending on the nature of the request. For example, if the patient says “Alexa, I need pain relief,” the request will be sent to a registered nurse. If the request is not be addressed in a timely fashion, it will escalated to ensure the patient’s needs are met.

Related: Which Amazon Echo speaker should you buy?

For those patents without the use of their hands, or with mobility issues, the Echo speaker can be used to change the TV channel and much more.

“Whereas previously nurses were frequently asked to help with the in-room television, Alexa does that job for us, allowing nurses to focus on providing the highest level of patient care,” said Golda Morales, assistant nurse manager of General Surgery in a press release.

The hospital says the trial will help patients stay in touch with the outside world while they’re laying in bed. Just like the regular Echo speakers, it can be used to read the news, play media, offer a weather report, or play games.

“Patients young and old are now used to voice-activated devices in their homes. Since it’s familiar to them, it helps enhance their hospital experience,” said director of Medical and Surgical Services Peachy Hain. “In the hospital, patients have little to distract them from pain or loneliness.”

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