The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has installed a Virtual Assistant to improve the experience of patients and visitors entering its new £2.7m reception area.

The product, developed by Tensator, is intended to improve check-in speeds by giving patients information and guiding them through the hospital’s new self check-in kiosks.

Wendy Farrington Chadd, chief executive of the trust, said that the hospital was always looking for “effective ways to improve communications for visitors.”

“The Virtual Assistant is… an innovative way to convey key messages and it complements our reception team, signage and way-finding as part of the whole new development,” she explained.

The assistant has been programmed to present scheduled audio-visual messaging that changes with the day and time. It can, for example, give out details of services that are only operated at particular times.

It can also give out general health information, for example encouraging patients to use hand gel where appropriate, to reduce infection rates.

Project manager, Adam Morgan, Capita Symonds, told eHealth Insider that the Virtual Assistant has been receiving “great reviews.”

“People are actually finding themselves talking to ‘her’ and it’s better than having lots of signs,” he said. “In the past, the hospital found a lot of disorientated people lost in the corridors, but the trust has now changed its way-finding so that we have better control of patients.”

During visiting hours, the system will also provide directions for the many visitors the trust received from its local population of 1.8m.