“I always look forward to your phone calls. It’s been a wonderful experience!”
When we talk about our AI-based virtual care assistant, MyEleanor, some people are surprised that a voice assistant can build a relationship with patients over the phone. That they really do tell her things they won’t tell their own doctor or a human care manager.
One of the first questions we usually get: Do people really want to talk to her?
Well, one cohort of patients enrolled in a unique, longitudinal chronic care management program recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their first weekly call with Eleanor. When she asked participants to tell her about their experiences and to let her know if she could do anything more to help, their answers illustrate what we mean when we say patients often treat Eleanor like a trusted member of their care team.
And yes–they really do want to talk to her.
“I’m fine, dear,” one participant told her during the anniversary call after Eleanor asked her how she was doing. “Everything has been going–knock on wood–pretty good. Thank you so much for checking up on me.”
Another trend: Simply talking to Eleanor can increase patient satisfaction and alleviate social isolation and loneliness–something that became even more important during the pandemic.
“Just waiting for your call was good enough for me,” another participant said. “You’re very nice and very polite and if I need help, I always get it that day or the next day, so I appreciate everything that you do: I truly do!”
A few more snippets from the anniversary conversations that highlight Eleanor’s high-tech and high-touch capabilities:
“Your weekly calls are so reassuring. I appreciate you checking in!”
“Your calls are important to me because you help me fill my prescriptions and it shows me my doctor is interested in how I’m doing.”
“You’ve done a good job relaying information to the doctor’s office.”
“You’ve been very helpful and it’s nice that I could explain things to you. And happy anniversary to you, too!”
The healthcare industry knows that improving patient satisfaction, engaging patients in their own healthcare, and paying closer attention to patients with multiple chronic conditions can improve outcomes and reduce the need for costly emergency care, hospitalizations, and readmissions. Mental health has a direct correlation with physical well-being. It’s particularly difficult (and expensive) to keep in regular contact with large populations over time.
Eleanor can make unlimited calls, faster than human staff and at a fraction of the cost. She does serious work that can impact patients’ health, such as helping them fill their medications and talking to them about medication adherence, detecting risks for falls and hospitalizations, making appointments with primary care physicians and specialists, and addressing social determinants of health.
What makes Eleanor different is that even though people know they’re talking to an interactive, automated assistant, they also know there’s a human member of their care team reading Eleanor’s reports and responding to concerns. As Eleanor’s anniversary conversations show, this provides a sense of care and comfort to those who need it most.