Healthgrades, Conversa roll out AI chatbots at many customer hospitals

By Jonah Comstock
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Healthgrades, a company which originally focused on physician ratings but has lately expanded into customer relationship management for hospitals as well, has tapped Conversa to create CareChats, an AI-powered chatbot that helps hospitals follow up with recently discharged patients.

"Essentially we have a very rich library of what we call conversation modules that are totally automated, they have intelligent branching logic, and they’re triggered by a rich longitudinal profile of each and every patient," Conversa cofounder and CEO West Shell III told MobiHealthNews in an interview. "So if we know they’re a diabetic hypertensive patient recovering from lower back pain, they’re going to get a different set of conversation modules than somebody who’s just a diabetic or just a hypertensive patient or someone with just lower back pain. We treat the whole patient and put those personalized CareChats together to help communicate with and monitor that particular patient."

CareChats have already been rolled out to a number of health systems and hospitals around the country that were already working with Healthgrades for CRM, including Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Penrose St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs, and California health system Citrus Valley Health Partners.

“Patients are avoiding unnecessary and time consuming visits, so participation in this program has a natural incentive,” Dr. Rich Milani, chief transformation officer at Ochsner, said in a statement. “We are pleased to work with Healthgrades to enable this technology, which is valuable to patients and to our system as a whole, and has given us the ability to build even stronger relationships with our patients.”

Conversa's technology platform can also incorporate data from wearables via a partnership with Validic, and all the data that's collected over the course of a CareChat can be incorporated into the hospital's information flow in different ways, including via the EHR, a care management platform, or a special clinician dashboard.

"We believe this is absolutely critical to strengthening the doctor-patient relationship," Shell told MobiHealthNews. "Right now when patients leave the clinical encounter, oftentimes they feel they stop being a patient. So these continuous frequent light touches in between visits are a significant improvement in the doctor’s ability to communicate, monitor, and manage their large patient panels. ... We see this as covering the wide gamut of patient interactions from appointments to preventive service reminders to understanding their EOBs. The whole goal here is to be able to empower the patients to become much more accountable and more engaged to manage their health decisions and to form a much deeper bond with their respective care teams so they can coordinate their care appropriately."