In the news: Virtual communicator helps patients understand discharge information

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, January 5, 2010

A virtual communicator named "Elizabeth" is helping nurses and patients during the discharge process. Elizabeth is a computer-animated character created from combining the facial expressions and gestures of physicians and nurses, who were filmed by Timothy Bickmore, a computer scientist at Northeastern University in Boston.

With Bickmore's system, when a patient is ready for discharge, a touch-screen computer can be wheeled to the bedside. All of the patient's discharge information is pre-programmed, so Elizabeth directly can help the patient answer any questions or concerns he or she might have.

Elizabeth can discuss the 1,500 most commonly prescribed medications and she also quizzes patients to make sure they understand the information given to them. If the patient gets a question wrong, and Elizabeth is unable to answer the question, nurses receive an alert.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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