Introducing AJ - Artificial Friend to Care Workers

Introducing AJ - A New Bot for Care Workers



November 18, 2021

In a given care home, supervisors will spend over five hours every twelve weeks helping people change their passwords. Compound this with holiday requests, sickness and other minor administrative tasks and it creates a major drain on care workers' time and emotional energy, which could be used for more important aspects of their job.

Because there are so many of these tasks, all of which must be accomplished in specific ways, with often esoteric and poorly-worded how-to guides, and little to no training, people end up trapped in an emotional cycle. They might go into a shift already stressed and then have to leave the floor, including the residents they could be helping, to perform these tasks. It takes longer than it needs to, and the staff know it, so they get frustrated. This only makes the minutiae of what they have to do more difficult, more stressful, and more confusing, which in turn lowers their confidence, meaning they have to go to others for help, which then becomes routine.

In collaboration with Cornwall Care and EPIC, we've started working on a solution: AJ. AJ is thirty-eight, from Lanner. He works in care and he loves his family, dark beer, and the rugby. AJ is also a bot.

During workshops with current care workers, we established what some of the biggest queries and areas of concern for staff are. We went into these workshops with vague ideas about what these areas might be; most of them were wrong. It's so important at every stage in the process to work with the user base - we could create the sleekest app in the world, but it would still be pointless if people don't use it. Within two minutes of speaking to our care workers they had all named the same core issue and started laughing. They know their business.

Working with them, we talked through the most pressing issues, and identified those that we could provide value to. By speaking with them we found obstacles we never would have thought of - such as some care workers not being comfortable using desktop computers because all the devices in their lives are touch screen. AJ is built with an awareness of these barriers.

We also reflected the language and tone of our participants in creating answers to ensure that they're clear, helpful, and understandable to other care workers. Not only does this increase usability, but it also helped us to get to the centre of the emotional issues at play.

AJ doesn't have to find space in his schedule to show you the ropes. AJ will never be exasperated, even if you come to him every single time you need to change your password. AJ will always be able to walk you through it, as many times as you want, until you understand what it is you need to do. By acknowledging and working with the specific emotions people have, AJ will help build the confidence they deserve in themselves, allowing them to become more independent.

AJ is out latest project in the field of Health & Care. Our other work includes bringing touch-free technologies into clinical settings. At Hi9 we are passionate about creating quality of life improvements so workers can focus on what really matters.

Need to change your password? Ask AJ.