New York, NY
Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems, renowned for its leading medical school, groundbreaking research and technology, and highly specialized, coordinated care for diverse populations in the New York region, across the country, and globally.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Montefiore Health System’s support channels were overwhelmed by concerned patients looking for answers. In just 48 hours, Montefiore deployed Hyro’s AI-powered COVID-19 Virtual Assistant to provide 24/7 patient support, delivering accurate information on the spot as well as a guided risk assessment tool.
<div class="tagline">The Challenge</div>
In March of 2020, the spread of COVID-19 was threatening to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system, particularly in New York where numbers were dramatically higher than elsewhere in the country.
The overwhelming spike in demand for COVID-19 patient services and the need to provide accurate information in real-time threatened to overload Montefiore’s communication channels, spawning massive backlogs in medical care and testing.
<div class="tagline">The Solution</div>
Montefiore Health System knew that automating first-touch prevention, risk assessment, and FAQs surrounding COVID-19 would alleviate the stress on support teams and enable faster access to other services. After evaluating a number of vendors, they enlisted Hyro’s services to build an AI-powered Virtual Assistant to source verified information and automate patient services.
Hyro’s plug & play approach removed the heavy lifting from Montefiore’s team and enabled the deployment of a COVID-19 Virtual Assistant in just 48 hours. Hyro handled the process end-to-end, without requiring the significantly strained health system to provide data, build out workflows, or deal with integrations.
Hyro’s Virtual Assistant also provided Montefiore’s patients with a trifecta of mediums with which to engage: voice, text, and suggestion clicks. The multi-interactive method meant that patients could choose to advance the conversation using buttons with designated responses sourced from the Centers for Disease Control, or speak or type using their own phrasing. Regardless of their preference, patients were met with high-quality answers based on Hyro’s natural language understanding capabilities, while their responses were logged in real-time.
For example, the AI-powered assistant offered patients a ‘COVID-19 Risk Assessment’ button which, when clicked, triggered a pre-determined series of responses using information sourced from the CDC. However, instead of clicking the button, a large percentage of patients chose to describe their risks with open-text instead, using phrases like “I have a light cough and high fever, should I get checked?” to skip the CDC flow and move straight to triage.
<div class="tagline">The Results</div>
After deploying Hyro, Montefiore Health System saw an instant uptick in patient engagement surrounding COVID-19. “During the first week of deployment, we were already witnessing hundreds of daily conversations with the COVID-19 screening tool and chat solution.”, said Adrin Mammen.
Those hundreds of conversations quickly increased to thousands. In just one month, Hyro received over 125,000 messages, with most patients inquiring about COVID-19 or seeking other patient services such as telemedicine and symptom triaging. All-in-all, Montefiore’s patients carried out an average of 450 conversations per day, with almost two-thirds of those taking place on mobile devices.
Thanks to Hyro’s conversational intelligence capabilities, Montefiore understood that, in the absence of traditional communication channels being available, patients were seeking other non-COVID-medical services through their website. The health system adjusted accordingly by directing users that engaged with the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant to other key areas on their website including their FAQ page and patient portal.
In total, from April to May of 2020, 126,940 messages were sent by patients, leading to an average of 3.34 messages per session. Montefiore saw an average of 450 conversations per day handled by Hyro’s Virtual Assistant at the peak of the pandemic.
We wanted to offer patients the ability to be directed to Montefiore resources but also be in a position to get answers to key questions they had about COVID-19. We were looking for technology that would provide value to our patients and direct them to the care they needed.
Prior to turning to Hyro, we looked at multiple vendors and some even asked us to build a solution ourselves. We knew we could do it if we had time. But time is exactly what we did not have given the imminent situation.
Hyro offered us a conversational interface that was customizable to our organization and could also be quickly launched as an out-of-the-box platform. Two days after going live, we were able to customize the solution even further with specific Montefiore resources including phone numbers and websites that users could go to for additional information.