Chat tool helping Intermountain screen, steer possible COVID-19 patients

Intermountain Healthcare, the sprawling 24-hospital system based in Utah, is partnering with a supplier of healthcare-specific virtual assistants to offer patients an automated COVID-19 interface on Intermountain’s homepage.

The vendor, Silicon Valley-based Gyant, announced the installation April 13, saying the chat tool screens for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors using Q&A’s. It then directs patients to settings appropriate to their condition while further offering tips and educational pointers.

The company adds that the tool, branded as “Scout,” is a customized iteration of its COVID-19 Sera solution, the latter standing for screener and emergency-response assistant.

Intermountain says more than 157,000 people have used the tool in its first couple of weeks at an average rate of about 9,300 engagements a day. Over that time the tool has achieved a screening-completion rate of 93% while recording a corresponding 30% decrease in volume at its call center.

The switch “helps alleviate strain on the call center and opens up lines of patient-clinician communications for those who need it most,” Intermountain says.  

Kevan Mabbutt, the health system’s chief consumer officer, adds that “Scout” is particularly helpful during the pandemic because it “helps people get symptoms checked out quickly and easily while social distancing at home and prioritizes testing and telehealth resources for those who need them most.”