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Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals to Launch Cognitive Patient Care Rooms

October 5, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals Inc. is the latest patient care organization to partner with IBM, as the health system recently announced it will launch cognitive hospital rooms powered by IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) designed to enhance the patient experience.

Jefferson, with three facilities with more than 900 acute care beds and part of Jefferson Health in Center City, Philadelphia, is currently planning to deploy speakers in some hospital rooms, providing patients in those rooms with access to basic information, as well as more control over their surroundings to help make their stay more comfortable, officials said in the announcement.

The in-room speakers will be connected to the IBM Watson IoT Platform that taps IBM Watson cognitive computing and natural language capabilities, as well as provides the ability to access hospital data that is important for patients and the types of questions they typically may have about their hospital stay. For example, patients can request information (i.e.: "When can my brother visit me on Tuesday?" or "Tell me about my doctor"), request specific actions (i.e.: "Play waterfall music," or "Make the room warmer or cooler"), trigger actions (i.e.: "Remind me to get up and walk every four hours"), and have an interactive dialogue with the speaker (i.e.: "Conduct a survey and record the responses for my nurse").

Many physicians often describe themselves as either overextended or at full capacity with not much time to see more patients. But now, with the ability to interact with in-room speakers that are connected to the IBM Watson IoT Platform, the idea is for patients to “take control” over their hospital stay and the overall experience—operating lights, window blinds, asking questions about hospital facilities or even getting background information on their physician.

“Being in a hospital can often be a hectic, anxiety-ridden, or even intimidating experience for patients and their loved ones. If we can minimize that discomfort, even a little, we are doing a lot to increase the well-being and care of our patients," said Neil Gomes, vice president for technology innovation and consumer experience at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. "We are able to invest in new innovations like the Watson IoT-powered speakers to give our patients the ability to interact in natural language to get basic, but important, information about their hospital visit without having to buzz in for a nurse."

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