Your Voice in Health Care: A Virtual Assistant Aids Patients, Addresses Gaps in Cancer Care

Cure Article 3
October 23, 2020

“WellBe was developed to provide meaningful health information on cancer while staying connected to loved ones with our calling and messaging capabilities.”

WellBe, a voice-enabled virtual assistant, now makes it easier for patients with cancer to retrieve information, while staying connected to loved ones at the same time.

Moreover, the device aims to address gaps in medical adherence, like reminding patients to take their medicine or schedule a follow-up appointment with their physicians.

“We really think (WellBe) aligns very nicely with cancer patients who are having difficulty with their health care,” Mike Cardillo, founder and president of HandsFree Health, said in an interview with CURE.

HandsFree Health, which develops the voice-enabled virtual assistant WellBe, was created by a group of four health care executives to offer individuals easy access to medical answers from the comfort of their own home through the HIPAA complaint platform.

The smart speaker allows users to ask question and receive accurate, vetted answers curated by health care professionals. WellBe® is a voice-enabled virtual health assistant which provides users access to the following:
· medication reminders
· appointment reminders
· answers to health questions
· family caregiver notifications
· prescription refill alerts
· pricing estimates
· Medicare and insurance benefits information
· blood pressure, glucose and weight tracking
· music
· news
· audiobooks
· weather forecasts

“WellBe is a home-based health service, and we believe it complements supporting cancer patients at home. It was developed to provide meaningful health information while staying connected to loved ones with our calling and messaging capabilities. We also have companionship services such as audio books, music and meal services to help to avoid the feeling of isolation,” Cardillo explained, adding that the services are delivered in a secure and confidential manner with its HIPPA-compliant platform.

Of note, however, he added that the device is not meant to offer medical advice or to replace doctors’ visits, and instead is meant to coincide with medical management. For example, treatment adherence is a common problem associated with oral cancer drugs. But with the smart speaker, patients receive medication and appointment reminders to ensure they are taking their medication at the appropriate times or to remind them of follow-up appointments or to refill a prescription. “These help patients stay on track with their doctor’s care plan,” Cardillo said.

Rather than searching the web, WellBe answers health questions for patients using a health database created by medical professionals. Moreover, it serves as a tool to remind patients of upcoming appointments and provide information about the nature of the visit.

“Medication non adherence is major concern and a leading cause of preventable hospitalization, WellBe helps combat non adherence in a completely new way. Additionally the health information provided by WellBe can help you decide when to contact your physician and be proactive in your care,” Cardillo added.

Moreover, the speaker can highlight specialists and primary care physicians in a patient’s area.

“Individuals have to be more involved in their health care. We really thought and believe that the coupling of health services with voice recognition provides a very unique way to engage the consumer in a much more empowering fashion, help make them smarter consumers and delivered in a manner that’s a lot easier,” Cardillo said.

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