ChristianaCare develops new Alexa Skill for home health patients

The Delaware health system says patients can ask their Amazon Alexa smart speaker questions about prescribed medications, exercises and more.
By Kat Jercich
02:12 PM
Amazon Alexa speaker

ChristianaCare this week announced the launch of its Home Care Coach, a HIPAA-eligible Alexa Skill aimed at meeting the needs of home health patients.

The Home Health Coach, which the Delaware-based health system says was designed in collaboration with frontline caregivers, is a proactive care plan that patients can use through their Alexa smart speaker.


Home healthcare acts as a major part of ChristianaCare's services. According to the organization website, ChristianaCare staff members performed nearly 300,000 home health visits in fiscal year 2019.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic inevitably complicates home health care provision, especially because vulnerable members of the community are often the ones relying on it. The increasing prevalence of voice assistants and smart speakers makes them a natural complement, when available, with other medical treatments.

The Home Care Coach's interface, according to ChristianaCare, allows providers to customize patient care plans. The patient can then ask Alexa questions about prescribed medication, exercise, and more, and get personalized prompts.

The skill is being launched to select groups of ChristianaCare patients, system representatives said, with plans to expand it in the coming months.

"Voice assistants are in millions of homes in the U.S.," said Randy Gaboriault, chief digital and information officer at ChristianaCare, in a statement. "By leveraging this technology, we are creating a new model of care within patients’ homes to support the best health outcomes possible."


Intelligence-driven voice assistants have been increasingly leveraged in medical settings, with healthcare organizations relying on Alexa, as well as Apple's Siri and Google Home, to augment patient care.

Recently, the Mayo Clinic added a COVID-19 specific skill set to Alexa, offering users the latest information on the disease in response to voice commands.

"For Mayo Clinic, voice technologies allow us to deliver information and care when, where and how people wish to access it," explained Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, a Mayo Clinic physician and medical director for Mayo's health education and content services. "Accurate, easily accessible information is key to fighting this pandemic, and voice technologies are another avenue to get information to the public."


"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," said ChristianaCare President and CEO Dr. Janice E. Nevin in a statement.

"We have a bold vision of the future," she said. "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."

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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Top row - left to right: Dr Don Rucker, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HHS Office of the Secretary, US, Tim Kelsey, SVP - Analytics, HIMSS, Australia and Dr Ahmed Balkhair, Saudi Arabia’s Digital Transformation Advisor, Ministry of Health. 

Bottom row: Dr Anne Snowdon, Director of Clinical Research - Analytics, HIMSS, Canada.

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