OSF Healthcare leverages virtual assistant in screening for COVID–19

OSF Health, an Illinois-based integrated healthcare system with 147 locations, including 14 hospitals, and two colleges of nursing, is leveraging AI to help patients better understand the risks of contracting COVID-19 and navigate care types based on their symptoms.

The health system implemented a virtual assistant, the Digital Front Door Solution, from GYANT, a patient connection and relationship management company, in Dec. 2019. The solution provides screening services, as well as support patients through the healthcare journey with education on symptoms, prevention and preparedness. The partnership between the two companies was originally to serve OSF in Illinois and Michigan to create a better digital health experience for patients, though the need has increased since COVID–19 has spread further.

“As a steward in the healthcare community, it is important for us to consider the needs of our industry, including our clients and their patients, at all times, particularly in extraneous circumstances,” Stefan Behrens, COO and co-founder of GYANT, said in a statement. “Obviously, these enhancements were not on our product roadmap, nor were they scoped with any client, but as a leading source of health information for patients and consumers, we considered it critical to incorporate COVID-19 into our medical protocols.”

The virtual assistant, dubbed Clare, has had 14,000 interactions about COVID-19 in the first two days since “she” was updated, according to a press release. A whopping 85% of patients using the virtual assistant solution also reported a positive experience.

“We are always looking for ways to better serve our patients and offer more personalized engagements. Our patients want the ability to communicate with us virtually, and this has only heightened with the spread of COVID-19,” Jennifer Junis, senior vice president of Saint Gabriel Digital Health, OSF HealthCare, said in a statement. “With GYANT, we created Clare, a friendly and informative virtual assistant that supports patients before and during their care journey. This level of connectivity is critical in times of healthcare crisis.”