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Healthcare AI Solutions Ease Nursing Duties

healthcare AI

I recently visited a healthcare facility for a routine medical procedure and might have inadvertently overtasked the attending nurse: Because I was freezing cold, I ended up asking for a warm blanket three separate times. I am not the only one who finds that bedside call button all too tempting.

While nurses’ jobs are to provide quality patient care, more often than not they are the first line of defense for all patient needs—whether that’s extra blankets, a pillow, or a glass of water. Such requests are not the best use of nurses’ time. “If you use a nursing call bell, the nurse needs to walk to your bed and then deal with your request, return to their station, and then coordinate with the nutrition or maintenance department,” says Paulo Pinheiro, CEO and co-founder of HOOBOX Robotics, a developer of medical optimization solutions.

Given the high rates of burnout and staff shortages among nurses, medical facilities are doing their best to optimize nursing resources. HOOBOX Neonpass, a smartphone app-based solution, addresses these inefficiencies. Looking for ways to use AI in healthcare, HOOBOX developed Neonpass to meet patients’ needs without overburdening nurses. The application recognizes and routes requests to the right departments in the medical facility, bypassing the nursing station when necessary. The app-driven demand and delivery method has earned Neonpass the moniker “DoorDash for Hospitals.”

AI in Healthcare Optimizes Workloads

Using Neonpass enables not just patient communication with professional staff but also routes messages between nurses and other connected departments in a digital format. Where rigid protocols once mandated nurses call other departments in the hospital, medical facilities can now rely on the digital platform to send messages. For example, instead of calling a diet change into nutrition—with a potential for miscommunication—nurses can input the change directly into the Neonpass solution. “With Neonpass you digitalize all the information and nutrition receives an alert; it’s much more efficient and less error-prone than a phone call,” Pinheiro says.

Neonpass includes three AI modules. The first one detects patients’ anomalous behavior on the assumption that messages from patients can serve as a window to underlying medical needs. Frequent requests for water, for example, might indicate a physical problem so Neonpass can alert nurses to check in on the patient earlier than planned, for effective intervention.

“AI will analyze the last medication taken, procedures, exam, and will give a risk score so nurses can gauge severity and prioritize visits,” Pinheiro says. The AI is sophisticated enough to understand that different medications or procedures can trigger events that might otherwise be characterized as abnormal and factors these parameters into its risk score.

Another AI module evaluates the patient’s use of the chatbot embedded in Neonpass for mental health challenges. The module can detect if the user is feeling lonely or suicidal and alert staff accordingly.

The final module delivers generative AI trained on large language models from the individual hospitals. Using Neonpass, professionals can verify safety and fall prevention protocols, for example. The solution complements existing training programs for medical professionals, who can study for certification courses using Neonpass.

AI-driven optimization also delivers business insights through a common platform so management can use information to optimize staffing depending on cyclical demand and even route nurses to floors where they might be needed more.

The final module delivers #GenerativeAI trained on large language models from the individual hospitals. HOOBOX Robotics via @insightdottech

Customized AI Models Lead to Remarkable Results

The HOOBOX team is well aware of stringent regulations regarding the safeguarding of sensitive patient health information (PHI). Neonpass complies with American HIPAA and international protocols. In addition to encrypting data using Intel hardware, HOOBOX delivers extensive employee training “to transform everyone into a human firewall,” Pinheiro says.

Every hospital in Brazil where Neonpass is in use, have registered impressive returns on investment from the solution. For example, Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo reduced nursing requests by 54% and saved 100 hours per month for every 10 beds. And Santa Paula hospital in São Paulo saves an astounding 75% of nursing time using Neonpass.

HOOBOX tailors AI models for each hospital. While doing so in Brazil, the engineers ran into an interesting problem: Because different regions of the country have different dialects and slang, the models needed training on all of these to ensure that the AI solution understands patients from all backgrounds. The Intel® OpenVINO toolkit helps cut down the inferencing time needed to train such weighty models. The solution runs on Intel® Xeon® processors with integrated accelerators, which help process and deliver insights rapidly, Pinheiro says.

The company works with medical facilities to customize and deploy Neonpass for their specific use cases—from figuring out the departments that will participate in the solution, to installing QR code plates at bedsides, to training hospital-specific AI models. Most hospitals start with the nursing, nutrition, and maintenance departments before expanding the solution to include other verticals.

The Future of Healthcare AI

Using Neonpass helps patients quickly access information about procedures, exams, and tests so they can be more involved in their own treatment. “We think this is the future, delivering the most relevant patient information at the right time is otherwise a big challenge for patients,” Pinheiro says.

He also expects Neonpass to evolve to provide continuity of care beyond the medical facility. Follow-up calls to patients decrease readmission rates, but such measures are not very scalable, Pinheiro points out. While the method of care delivery will still be through the app, moving to a wearable device is also a possibility. By delivering their API to other communication platforms, Neonpass can find new avenues by which it can prioritize patient care while decreasing burdens on medical professionals.

Neonpass expects to grow its reach beyond Brazil and expand into the North American market as well. So maybe the next time I need a warm blanket at a hospital, I will no longer need to bother the attending nurse but use the Neonpass app instead.


This article was edited by Georganne Benesch, Editorial Director for

About the Author

Poornima Apte is a trained engineer turned technology writer. Her specialties run a gamut of technical topics from engineering, AI, IoT, to automation, robotics, 5G, and cybersecurity. Poornima's original reporting on Indian Americans moving to India in the wake of the country's economic boom won her an award from the South Asian Journalists’ Association. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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