CodeBaby Creates Virtual Guide for Colorado Healthcare Exchange

Derek Top of Opus Research recently wrote about intelligent assistants in the healthcare space. One of the technologies Top profiled was CodeBaby’s intelligent assistant Kyla, which supports Colorado’s health insurance marketplace. I gave Kyla a test drive to see how she works.

Codebaby KaylaCodeBaby’s Kyla differentiates itself from other self-service virtual assistants in that there is no text-based interface. In fact, you can’t ask Kyla specific questions. Though this structure sounds like it would be very constraining for the potential health insurance customer, I found that Kyla actually works quite well.

Kyla appears as an animated image of a young woman. The animation is pleasant and doesn’t mimic a human image enough to be creepy. Kyla is more like a guide than a question-answering bot. She pops up at the lower right of the healthcare connect screen and provides a pre-recorded message to welcome the user to the site and give them a quick overview of what the site is about. All of Kyla’s statements are pre-recorded. She has a human voice and her statements are made with natural intonation and tonality, which is a big plus over computer generated speech.

Once Kyla has finished introducing the user to the site (or to a new web page), a pop up appears with a selection of other topics that Kyla can address. Some examples of topics the user can choose are:

  • How long will it take me to enroll?
  • I want to learn more about financial options
  • What are the important deadlines I should know about?

When you select a topic, Kyla delivers her pre-recorded response. The text of her response isn’t displayed on the screen, so you must have your speakers turned on and you must be able to hear. You can start and stop Kyla’s recorded message and replay it as often as you like.

I think Kyla definitely works as a site guide and advisor. If a user has questions beyond those that have already been anticipated, Kyla won’t be able to assist. But she can refer the health insurance shopper to a webpage that helps them find a human broker. The intelligent assistant guide is a great fit for a website as complex and intimidating as a health insurance marketplace. It’ll be interesting to see if the intelligent assistant as guide gets expanded to other use cases

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