Meet Dr Evie, our new virtual assistant

Patients waiting to see our incontinence team may have their wait times cut dramatically after the appointment of Dr Evie to the team.

Dr Evie is an online virtual assistant that provides families and patients with medical advice prior to their first visit to the hospital.

“Dr Evie was encouraging, almost empathetic! It was good that someone pre-empted the likelihood that the program may not be followed completely that well and that subsequent visits reinforced previous advice”, said a hospital parent.

The new virtual assistant is the highlight of eADVICE, an electronic advice program the continence team have been working on.

The idea for eADVICE came about seven years ago when Dr Patrina Caldwell noticed her administrative team had been giving parents advice over the phone that had greatly helped their child.

“The advice was sound—but it wasn't from a medical source so then we went about providing a personalised, evidence based online program to help children,” Dr Caldwell said.

“We tested it but found the advice was not always followed.”

Dr Caldwell and her team then sought help from experts at Macquarie University and added the virtual assistant—Dr Evie—to the program.

The eADVICE program works by asking questions about the sick child and then giving personalised treatment advice to address the health problem. The program is then linked directly to the GP, who supervises the child’s treatment.

“With the introduction of Dr Evie kids were much more receptive to the treatment advice. We even found that some kids didn’t need to come and see us anymore because their problems were resolved. Others still came but their problems were less severe and easier to resolve.” Dr Caldwell said.

Thanks to a recent boost in funding from the Translational Research Grants Scheme, for the next two years all children referred to the Network continence services and or John Hunter Children’s Hospital will be offered the opportunity to participate in a research study to trial eADVICE.

“We have had great feedback from children that have already used eADVICE, and we hope this research will help more children with urinary incontinence.” Dr Caldwell said.

  • In the future the aim is for eADVICE to be used across many other non-life threatening health conditions.
  • For more information on the eADVICE program speak to your child’s clinician.