The Latest in Digital Virtual Assistant Technology: What Hospitals Should Know

Digital Virtual Assistant technology (DVA), also known as website chatbots and digital care navigators, are one of the top digital health trends hospital leaders should be watching. According to our recently released Digital Health Technology report, DVA utilization among hospitals is likely to skyrocket in the coming years. The report, based on a survey of 100 hospital leaders, found that while just 17% of hospitals currently use the technology, 64% plan to use it by 2026.

What’s driving the increased interest and demand? Much of it boils down to the fact that DVA tends to be easily implemented and resource-light (these solutions are typically up and running within 30 days or fewer), yet the impact of DVA is immediate and wide-ranging. From improving staff and physician efficiency to streamlining patient access and improving the patient experience—the leading DVA solutions help support these needs, and more.

Three technology experts weigh in. 

Broad Use Cases, Broad Benefits

Digital Virtual Assistant technology supports digital front door applications, remote patient support, pre- and post-visit outreach, in-facility patient support, and many other uses. Panda-awarded DVA suppliers, such as GYANT, Orbita, and Hyro have been deployed in consumer and clinical healthcare applications to automate workflows and enhance efficiencies while improving patient satisfaction.

DVA Use Cases: A Closer Look

Take GYANT—one of our awarded DVA suppliers—for example. GYANT’s conversational AI virtual assistant helps hospitals streamline and enhance the patient journey, automating several patient interactions such as finding doctors, triaging symptoms, scheduling appointments, and more.

“We are improving the patient experience and reducing cost-to-serve,” says Justin Nelson, Chief Commercial Officer at GYANT. “Customers immediately see reduced call center volume, growth of users served (language translation, expanded service hours), and an increase in patient capture.”

Orbita, another Panda-awarded DVA supplier, is known for its ability to address a number of high-value use cases. The solution provides two distinct types of solutions: Patient-initiated Interactions (e.g., Digital Virtual Assistants, live chat, online scheduling, referral scheduling), and provider-initiated engagement (e.g., digital intake and prep instructions, post-visit follow up, patient outreach and reminders). Healthcare-specific, Orbita is built on an extensible conversational AI platform that enables users to get started with one use case and easily scale across the organization.

“We recognize that many patients prefer self-service options, which are available day and night, so they can connect at their own convenience,” says Patty Riskind, CEO at Orbita. “At the same time, providers need interactive digital tools to make the most of opportunities to proactively contact patients with important information and reminders. By providing smart, end-to-end automation, we help close gaps in care while improving operational efficiency and patient satisfaction.”

Another Panda-awarded DVA supplier, Hyro, shines for its conversational AI communications platform. Hyro’s services include helping patients schedule new appointments, manage appointments, update prescription status and refills, and resolve IT help desk questions.

“Automating these types of interactions eliminates long hold times and enhances the patient experience, leading to higher patient satisfaction scores,” says Aaron Bours, Vice President of Marketing at Hyro, noting that Hyro recently helped Novant Health reduce wait times at its call center from eight minutes to zero. “We are streamlining access to care at the onset of the patient journey, usually relating to administrative and digital front door use cases.”

Top 3 DVA Solutions to Consider 

GYANT, Orbita, and Hyro are three of Panda’s approved suppliers for DVA, meaning each of these solutions passed our rigorous and unbiased evaluation process. This process identifies the leading solutions across digital health categories and assesses everything from cybersecurity and IT integration capabilities to impact on workflow and ROI.

Always Evolving: The Impact of Generative AI on DVA

Conversational AI, which is leveraged by most DVA platforms, has made remarkable strides in the past few years, as has the field of AI in general. Leading DVA solutions, such as Orbita, Hyro, and GYANT, will continue to stay ahead of the curve, incorporating the latest technology into their offerings—including the latest in generative AI and large language models (LLMs). 

“We take pride in our continued commitment to lowering cost-to-serve while driving better outcomes through meaningful engagement,” says Nelson. “There are abundant valuable use cases for LLMs in healthcare, and GYANT plans to utilize it even more fully, across the patient lifecycle. With LLMs, GYANT elevates the digital patient experience to be even more holistic and efficient.”

Orbita uses a variety of AI technologies, including generative AI, to build comprehensive knowledge bases that support its Q&A digital and voice assistants. “The latest advances in generative AI enable us to build these Q&A solutions in hours, rather than weeks or months,” says Riskind. “This greatly reduces the cost to ‘stand up’ a virtual assistant and speeds time to value.” Clients report greater than 25 percent reduction in their inbound call volume within six months deployment, and 15-20 percent average improvement in consumer experience scores.

She says Orbita will continue to integrate generative AI more deeply within its platform, including by:

  • Providing summaries of online exchanges to help agents when patient chats are escalated to a live agent;
  • Creating a Q&A assistant to equip agents with answers to questions they might encounter; and
  • Developing outbound engagement content, including multiple versions for A/B testing, and ensuring writing levels meet patient literacy needs.

Hyro is also incorporating generative AI into its solution and is excited about the opportunity presented by new AI developments. “The X-factor in the market will be those solutions providers that best blend together key components of conversational AI, including emerging technologies such as large language models,” says Bours. “We’ve already launched Spot, our GPT-powered assistant, that combines Hyro’s knowledge graph technology with GPT-4. Highly regulated healthcare organizations choose Spot because it offers added security and control, unlike typical LLM-exclusive solutions or ML-heavy solutions. Spot is already live in three health systems for those specific use cases.”

In Case You Missed It

Have you read “The Great Shakeup” yet? Based on a survey of 100 hospital leaders, the report explores the latest digital health solution trends.

Evaluating DVA Solutions: What Hospitals Should Consider

When evaluating DVA solutions, key questions your hospital should ask include:

  • How is the DVA supplier responding/adapting to AI advances?
  • What has it done so far to integrate these advancements into its solutions?
  • How is it ensuring these integrations don’t jeopardize patient care or patient information?
  • What is it currently working on to provide even more advanced capabilities to hospitals?

Technology is changing quickly, and a DVA solution that can adapt quickly will help your hospital stay ahead of the curve and activate its full potential.

Digital Virtual Assistant technology can create a robust digital front door for your organization while enhancing your efficiency, but choosing the right solution is challenging. At Panda, we’ve evaluated dozens of DVA solutions through our extensive and unbiased vetting process, and we’d be happy to help you determine which is right for your hospital.

To read the full Q&A interviews from GYANT, Orbita, and Hyro visit the Panda Health Marketplace today.