Burwood Hospital in Christchurch will be the first hospital in New Zealand and only the second in the world to trial an artificial intelligence (AI) assisted smart speaker designed to relay patient requests to nurses.
The offering - DeloiteASSIST - was developed by Deloitte Australia.
According to Deloitte; "simply by speaking their request, nurses are alerted to [a patient's'] need, with AI prioritising and smart-routing requests to the right resource to meet the patient’s needs. … Currently DeloitteASSIST can respond to 17 different categories of commands, and patients will still have their nurse call buttons available, too."
DeloiteASSIST made its debut at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney in April 2018.
Deloitte partner, Robert Spittle, was moved to develop the product to improve traditional nurse call buttons after his father had a fall while in hospital care.
The consultancy giant said DeloiteASSIST provides immediate response to patients, confirming they have been heard and that a nurse is on their way. It also gives patient's access to FAQs, with no nurse involvement.
Furthermore, Deloitte claims nurses can spend around a quarter of their time on non-critical patient care activities, and by changing nursing working processes it is able to eliminate some of these activities.
Burwood Hospital general manager Dan Coward, said: "Nurses responding to a patient’s request will have a better idea of what the patient needs and come prepared, rather than responding to a call bell, then going off to get whatever may be required."
Coward said patients would also be able to use DeloitteASSIST for non-nursing requests.
"At Burwood many of our patients are with us for months as they recover from serious injuries," he added. "I think they will enjoy the ability to request information, music and other entertainment from DeloitteASSIST by using simple voice commands.”
The system is being trialled in the Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation ward D1 and in the Burwood Spinal Unit and the Transitional Rehab Unit.
The hospital said these wards were been chosen because patients there often have limited mobility and require more assistance than others.