Conversational artificial intelligence platform developer Orbita has announced the launch of OrbitaAssist, a voice-enabled bedside virtual health assistant that offers an alternative or adjunct to traditional nurse call systems.

Patients can use a smart speaker configured with the platform to tell a nurse or caregiver that they need something or alert someone to a fall, then the request is routed to appropriate care team members, who can view it on mobile or desktop devices.

OrbitaASSIST also provides the patient with a natural language response letting the patient know the request has been received and assistance is on the way.

"This is an innovation developed in Australia with input and guidance from Australian nurses for patients, residents, and care teams in our local markets," Nick White, Orbita's executive vice president of patient care solutions, told Healthcare IT News. "Australians are quick adopters of new technology, with strong uptake of smart speakers by consumers."

The OrbitaASSIST tool, designed in Australia has global applicability as voice interfaces and conversational AI becomes more broadly adopted, White noted, and the solution is localised for colloquial language nuances in each geographic region.

"When innovating a solution like OrbitaASSIST, it is important to keep a strong link to the tangible outcome that we are looking to provide to the users of the solution," White explained. "In our case, we aim to support both patients and nurses in the delivery of care, and enhance the patient experience."

To achieve this, Orbita worked closely with a team of nurses and patient advisory groups to build a solution that worked for them and achieved their objectives.

White noted Orbita is working with current customers we regularly review key development priority areas for them, and factor these into the product roadmap for OrbitaASSIST.

"We are currently working on a number of exciting new features that we expect to change the face of patient and caregiver communications," he said.

White pointed to some "really groundbreaking technologies" evolving in personal medicine and predictive care, enabling communications to be tailored to an individual's needs.

"Building sensors into the room and adding wearables will drive a wave of data unlike anything we have seen in the past," he said. "We will need to make use of machine learning capabilities to process this data into usable insights for patients and caregivers."

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