Automating 85% of patient inquiries with Hyro’s COVID-19 virtual assistant

| Sally Frank

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Before there were chatbots, there was IVR – Interactive Voice Response. Who doesn’t remember the joy of sitting through 20 different IVR options before a robot misunderstood your intent and provided a worthless pre-recorded response? Then chatbots came along and we were typing into the void hoping to string together a set of words that were comprehensible enough to warrant a pre-prepared answer.

Hyro looked at these rigid, intent-based voice and chat solutions and wondered if there was a better way to interact with people seeking immediate answers and services. Hyro’s Adaptive Communications Platform leverages innovative natural language understanding to provide meaningful and actionable responses to real-world questions, without the need to build out conversational flows. AI-powered assistants become more contextually aware over time, with hardly any human intervention required to provide consistent streams of accurate information to end-users.

Founded in New York in 2018, Hyro specializes in AI-powered adaptive communications that enable enterprises to reduce wait times and customer friction while offering better conversational experiences. Early on, Hyro focused on a handful of verticals including government and real estate, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing spikes in patient traffic, they doubled down on relieving stress for their healthcare customers’ support teams.

One of those clients was Novant Health, a healthcare provider with 18 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics in North Carolina. Novant was already using Hyro’s virtual assistant on its homepage to help patients find physicians, navigate efficiently using site search, and book appointments. Faced with a sudden increase in concerned callers and the need to schedule vaccinations, Novant decided to deploy VAXA, Hyro’s AI-powered COVID-19 vaccine access solution, which offered 24/7 coverage for their call center.

Almost immediately, VAXA drastically reduced patient wait times from an average of eight minutes to three seconds. In the early days of the pandemic when reliable information was scarce, VAXA was able to field and resolve a whopping 85 percent of the calls coming in to Novant. Novant also found that Hyro’s solution helped funnel callers who were just looking for help scheduling a vaccination appointment, enabling them to expand their patient base by offering additional help beyond COVID-19 services.

Novant Health’s Director of Digital Product, Michael Guerin said, “One of the major things we’ve also been able to do through VAXA is to provide access to readily available facts when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine information. That’s been huge in our community. There’s so much misinformation out there and being able to have an automated system to disseminate facts without delay in terms of call waiting times and so forth has been a big help in our communities.”

Hyro is part of Microsoft for Startups Founder Hub which supports founders from idea to exit with up to $150,000 in Azure credits and a wide range of tools, technical and business support and exclusive partner offers. Last year, Hyro became the latest winner of the Microsoft for Startups Partner of the Year Award which acknowledges outstanding achievements and innovations from across Microsoft’s global partner ecosystem. The award citation noted that Hyro’s COVID-19 virtual assistant worked, “to clear up much of the misunderstanding surrounding the coronavirus, and to alleviate stress on overloaded healthcare professionals and support centers while providing actionable information for the public.”

Talking about the decision to support healthcare organizations in a time of crisis, Co-founder and CEO of Hyro, Israel Krush, was quick to acknowledge the part Microsoft had played, “We understood this was the necessary action to help health systems cut the red tape that usually surrounds SaaS deployments like conversational AI. Microsoft was pivotal in our efforts.” He continued, “We made our COVID-19 virtual assistant completely free, aimed at helping with containment and diagnosis. By automating some of the first-line digital touchpoints, we relieved the burden on healthcare support centers, so resources could be allocated where they were needed most, and we’re thankful for Microsoft’s support in those efforts.”

Register now to hear Hyro CEO, Israel Krush in conversation with Tammy Jones, CMO of Novant Health and Sally Ann Frank HLS lead for Microsoft for Startups on Innovations in Patient Engagement & Satisfaction.

Sign up for Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub today.

 

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