Research & Publications

A Protocol-Driven, Bedside Digital Conversational Agent to Support Nurse Teams and Mitigate Risks of Hospitalization in Older Adults: Case Control Pre-Post Study

Mar 22, 2019



Up to 1 million falls per year occur during hospital stays in the US, costing hospitals up to $7 billion per year to treat. Delirium, a major cause of falls, is highly prevalent (29%-64%) among hospitalized elders. Our team is developing a care technology that provides 24x7 proactive patient support to mitigate falls and delirium in a scalable, cost-effective, yet person-centered manner. We were awarded an NIH SBIR Fast-Track grant to further our work.


Prior research showed that digital avatars can build psychosocially supportive relationships with older adults living in the community. We conducted a pilot study of these digital avatars in a community hospital setting, and found that bedside avatars helped reduce the rate of falls among elderly inpatients while mitigating delirium and loneliness. Thus, in our present NIH-funded work, we seek to enhance the clinical robustness of our avatar intervention by implementing a more complete set of protocols derived from the evidence-based Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), and to validate the benefits of this next-generation intervention in a larger scale, multi-site clinical study.



avatars (1)clinical trials (10)elderly (34)health care technology (5)hospital information systems (2)loneliness (14)mobile health (237)mHealth (622)patient care (3)psychosocial support systemsfalls (7)delirium (2)nursing (27)Hospital Elder Life ProgramConfusion Assessment MethodHELPhospitals (9)SBIR