Accenture Ella

More automation for patient support: Accenture’s Ella and Ethan bots

Virtual assistants delivering guidance from Accenture’s Intelligent Patient Platform


One of the broad trends in hubs and related patient-support services is automation, usually in the form of text refill reminders, in-home diagnostics and the like. Now, those services are taking on a human appearance: two bots, or virtual assistants—Ella, for connecting with patients, and Ethan for advising healthcare providers. Through one’s smartphone, Ella delivers the medication reminders, tracks vital statistics and helps schedule appointments. Ethan delivers content recommendations to physicians and coordinates with other HCPs involved in patient care.

Underlying the bots is Accenture’s Intelligent Patient Platform (IPP), which is being used by pharma companies and outsourced hub providers; to this existing platform Accenture has added Einstein AI, a software development of Salesforce.com, and Amazon’s Alexa interactivity device, which enables patients and physicians to respond to Ella or Ethan. (IPP is built on Salesforce.com’s FullForce platform and Salesforce Health Cloud.)

The proof will be in the pudding whether Ella and Ethan live up to their potential, but one way or another, AI systems are going to play a larger role in patient care. There is also a data-gathering aspect to these bots: “The platform’s newest AI capabilities allow life sciences companies to make recommendations to best support the patient’s specific condition and lifestyle by gaining deeper insights into patient behavior — in real time,” said Tony Romito, managing director, Accenture Life Sciences.