Patients visiting the antenatal clinic at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust are now being greeted by a virtual assistant called “Shanice”.
The virtual assistant – similar to a hologram – wears the uniform of a maternity nurse and uses cutting edge technology to create the illusion of a real person.
“Shanice” is currently being used to welcome patients and visitors to the antenatal clinic at the trust’s Crown Street site.
She talks through the clinic’s self check-in procedures, explains what to expect from some clinical assessments and offers information on many of the services on offer.
Essentially the virtual assistant is intended to act as an extra member of staff to handle frequently asked questions, freeing up team resources in the process.
Caroline Jacobs, the trust’s information and technology project manager, said: “Every day, an average of 20 babies are born. As you would expect, it can get very busy at times.
“The implementation of the virtual assistant in conjunction with our new self check-in kiosks and clinic management system have been very successful. Overall patient feedback has been very positive,” she said.
The device – technically known as a “next generation digital signage solution” by manufacturer Tensator – can be moved to almost any position within the hospital.
Similar technology has previously been used to encourage good hand hygiene practice and is also in place at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in Bedfordshire and Oswestry Hospital in Shropshire.