Can bots save lives? MedStar Health investigators examine artificial Intelligence in personalized health management

Can Bots Save Lives? MedStar Health Investigators Examine Artificial Intelligence in Personalized Health Management

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Artificial Intelligence has become commonplace in everyday households over the past few years. Having voice-activated technology such as Amazon Alexa has increased convenience, information availability, and productivity for people at an affordable cost. But did you know Amazon Alexa could also help enhance your experience in health care and reduce your chances of returning to the hospital unexpectedly after experiencing heart failure?

Along with a group of investigators, Nawar Shara, PhD explored one potential advantage to using voice-activated artificial intelligence. Dr. Shara and her team examined what happens with Heart Failure Patients when you use an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot device or a visual avatar to prompt patients with questions. The researchers designated two groups with 30 patients in each group to complete a series of questions in the comfort of their own home. Patients were enrolled from a Heart Failure clinic during a routine checkup. One group used audio technology from Amazon Alexa to complete the survey and the other group used a visual/audio combination in the form of an avatar. Both groups received a series of 11 questions that identified if patients adhered physician care guidelines and assessed if patients were experiencing adverse symptoms.

Patients with heart failure are typically given a list of guidelines such as checking their weight and ensuring they take proper medication. Patients using Amazon Alexa devices to complete a daily questionnaire were more likely to comply with these guidelines than patients who did not use a questionnaire prompt. “The idea is that the questionnaire acts as a nudge by using familiar technology while simultaneously allowing patients to actively participate in managing their disease,” suggests Dr. Shara. “This creates the opportunity for buy-in from the patient while also allowing for them to take charge of managing their disease outside of a conversation with their provider in an exam room.”

This is one of many examples of how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to improve health outcomes and patient adherence. Integrating healthcare management into existing platforms or technology that people already use often or even daily helps address the growing need for early detection of potentially fatal risks or symptoms and can even aid in reducing unnecessary and costly trips to the hospital.

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