Next IT Virtual Health Assistant: Engaging Patients and Improving Their Outcomes

Pharmacy Times, May 2015 Skin & Eye Health, Volume 81, Issue 5

As health care technology continues to advance, novel approaches are being cultivated and marketed to encourage patients to be proactive about their health and/or more compliant with their medical therapies.

As health care technology continues to advance, novel approaches are being cultivated and marketed to encourage patients to be proactive about their health and/or more compliant with their medical therapies. Next IT, founded in 2002 and a leader in “virtual assistant” technology for over a decade, recently developed the health care tool Alme Health Coach, which provides health care professionals and their patients with an interactive approach to improve medication adherence and overall compliance.

According to the company, Alme Health Coach, which was released in October 2014, is the first artificially intelligent “virtual health assistant” built for the management of chronic diseases. The tool is designed to help patients adhere to their treatment programs for chronic diseases. To aid in patient care, Alme Health Coach obtains information about the patient’s day-to-day activities between doctor visits and can perform at-home patient health screenings and send the results to the health care provider to discuss on the next visit.

Alme Health Coach was devised to be formatted for specific diseases, medications, and treatments, and may be synched with a patient’s alarm clock so it can trigger questions concerning how the patient slept. Next IT’s goal behind the development of this virtual health assistant was to gather actionable data that health care providers can use to enhance relationships with patients. Patients must agree, however, to sharing the data.

The many advantages of using this virtual health assistant include enabling patients to have access to easy-to-use features, tracking and monitoring health goals, and assisting with understanding health information. In addition, Alme Health Coach reminds patients to take their medications, encourages them to make healthy life choices with regard to diet and exercise, answers questions about managing their condition, and prompts them to schedule an appointment with a health care professional when warranted.

Next IT believes that by combining advanced language technology with the knowledge of leading health care professionals, Alme Health Coach is giving patients an opportunity to use cutting-edge technology to manage their health. This technology can improve patient compliance and lower the direct and indirect costs associated with nonadherence.

Since patient education is key to improving patient outcomes, especially in patients with chronic conditions, Alme Health Coach can be an important tool that patients and their primary health care providers can use to increase patient adherence and improve therapeutic outcomes. The tool can be used to educate patients, provide tips on managing and tracking their symptoms, and answer any questions they may have about their disease.

Thomas J. Morrow, MD, chief medical officer of Next IT, states, “It’s great to be recognized for the work that went into Alme Health Coach. What’s even more rewarding is how this technology can improve the lives of real patients. Virtual assistants will play a central role in improving outcomes for patients in the coming years.”

For more information, visit the next IT website at www.nextit.com/healthcare.