Virtual caregiver unveiled at CES

  • January 4, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

New Mexico health technology company Electronic Caregiver is using this week’s CES in Las Vegas to launch the Addison virtual caregiver.

Addison, an avatar for care management, has been a dream of Electronic Caregiver’s founder and CEO Anthony Dohrmann since the company was set up in 2009. Through voice and touch interaction, the 3D-animated virtual caregiver helps monitor the health of aging and chronically ill clients of all ages via a Lenovo IdeaCentre all-in-one computer or Yoga convertible tablet in clients’ homes.

Addison Care devices can also be implemented in senior living communities and health care organisations, providing health and security services to a large number of people.

“Addison is the most transformational and engaging interface for human interaction with technology ever created,” Dohrmann said. “For years consumers have wondered what Siri and Alexa might look like behind the voice. Addison adds far more than a mere face and body to the voice. Addison provides a dynamic, ever-changing, emotionally stimulating, personalised experience to the user. Addison can educate, demonstrate, inquire and connect.”

By 2050, the world population will consist of 1.5 billion people aged 65 and older. And one in three people of the global population have multiple chronic conditions. Chronic illnesses kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 74 per cent of all deaths globally, according to the World Health Organisation.

While apps have been created to assist people with their health and caregiving needs, they are often unengaging, offer no coordination, and are not suitable for the elderly. People who have impaired vision or unsteady hands struggle with the small screens and small buttons, become overwhelmed, and lose interest.

Addison offers better oversight and coordination, instant health care services on demand, and a programme to avoid the high cost of assisted living, nursing homes and in-home care through improving health outcomes and extending functional lifespan.

With Addison, clients stay engaged and motivated to follow their treatment plan. This is vital, as in the USA non-adherence each year causes nearly 125,000 deaths, ten per cent of hospitalisations and costs the healthcare system between $100bn and $289bn, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Addison reminds users to take prescribed medications, conducts interactive health assessments, delivers dosing compliance verification to caregivers and providers, and assists patients in recording vital sign measurements to monitor specific conditions. The Addison Care system can be paired with various Bluetooth devices, such as a glucometer for patients with diabetes or a weight scale and blood pressure cuff for patients who have or are managing heart disease. Addison tracks medication adherence and vital sign trends over time, allowing clients, their caregivers and providers to catch any escalations before they become problematic.

It connects the patient with primary care, emergency response, friends and family. Users can tell Addison to call emergency services if they fall and can’t reach the phone, or to call their daughter to remind her to pick them up for an appointment in the morning. Should their vitals show signs of health decline, Addison will inform their caregiver and doctor.

The virtual caregiver also offers telehealth services and care coaching.

The avatar talks to and reacts to clients, mirrors time of day, weather, holiday celebrations and faith. Users can personalise environments, gender, ethnicity, decor, locations, fonts, tones, colours, apparel and language. They can interact with objects, animals, musical instruments, media and characters in Addison’s world.

“You know Addison’s not human, but it’s nice to have a person there, and it’s fun to watch her,” said Coralee Armstrong, 82, an Addison Care client living in Greenville, Pennsylvania. “It’s kind of like an extra person in the house. It’s kind of like company.”

Soon, Addison will incorporate physical and mental health routines and video televisits with health care professionals. The avatar will offer third-party service integrations for grocery delivery, ride share and connected homes. Additionally, clinical Addison configurations are being created for bedside patient management in hospitals, including intake and discharge processes.

Electronic Caregiver will be showcasing the Addison Care system at two events this week at CES in Las Vegas. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the living avatar at the Connections Summit, a research and industry event hosted by the research firm Parks Associates, and at ShowStoppers, an event giving journalists access to major brands and start-ups.

Addison Care subscribers pay a one-time installation and care plan activation fee and a monthly fee after that. It is HIPAA compliant and incorporates facial recognition for added security. The system has been certified after completing an AWS (Amazon Web Services) well-architected review. It uses more than 20 Amazon services and includes an Intel Core i5 processor and software.