Eliza Speech Recognition Technology Out to Make Healthcare Communication Sexier

It’s no surprise that many aspects of the healthcare system are deemed broken. But Beverly, MA-based Eliza is targeting a segment of the healthcare business that draws far less attention than the usual big ticket subjects like health insurance coverage or Medicare reimbursement codes.

Eliza uses a software-as-a-service model to deliver interactive communications for insurance companies and other healthcare stakeholders to patients. Typically healthcare providers and insurance companies communicate to patients about their health in a “boring, non-sexy way,” says Alexandra Drane, Eliza’s founder and president.

To remedy this, Eliza provides services that incorporate intelligent speech-recognition technology into a system of automated phone calls, text messages, and e-mails designed to engage consumers on the subject of their health and that encourage them to act by taking preventative healthcare measures. The phone calls typically don’t just explain a health problem to users or instruct them to get preventative screenings, says Drane. In her view, improving patient health is “not an information problem, it’s an inspiration problem.”

Instead of calling to tell someone that they are overweight and describing the health implications, Eliza’s service will offer practical, attainable suggestions on how to lose weight (and get back in your skinny jeans), such as cutting out soda. And rather than just informing people that they’re due for a preventive screening, they’ll ask why they haven’t gotten one yet. They can also directly transfer the phone calls to users’ healthcare providers to schedule appointments.

“Getting someone to change behavior is hard,” Drane says. “It’s not like a one-hit wonder. To the extent that we can be establishing relationships over time, that’s been a huge benefit for us.” Eliza also offers a Web-based portal for measuring the effectiveness of its communications, gathering real-time data on call responses, and enabling clients to modify programs for patients.

AlexandraDraneThe voice recognition technology behind Eliza’s service isn’t designed to just capture the words that customers use in their responses to Eliza’s motivational calls, but also the tone and inflection of what they are saying. It can use these responses to better craft future phone calls, tailoring the language, terms, and healthcare subjects on such factors as a patient’s age, gender, and demographic location. “Every interaction is about getting more insight into who you are,” Drane says. More than … Next Page »

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