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How Magee Rehabilitation Is Using Alexa To Give Paralyzed Patients More Independence

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia rehabilitation hospital is helping its patients with some new technology. It's giving them more independence.

When your ability to move is gone, you become dependent on others but new technology at Magee Rehabilitation here in Philadelphia is changing that.

Shynieka Taylor is enjoying music with the little bit of movement she has.

The 35-year-old is quadriplegic after a horrific car crash.

"It's very difficult. This happened in December, and I'm still in a little bit of shock," Taylor said. "So I just try to take it one day at a time."

She's in rehab at Magee getting used to her motorized wheelchair and a whole new world of innovative technology.

Magee now has smart room technology that's voice-activated.

"Alexa can do a number of different things in the room," Taylor said. "So you don't always have to call for someone to come in your room. You can do some things on your own."

Helping patients find new kinds of independence is a critical part of Magee's mission.

"You have to rehabilitate the mind, the body, the soul," said Dr. Guy Fried, the chief medical officer at Magee and Taylor's doctor. "She doesn't have to feel like she's a burden. She can control her own life."

This voice-activated system is similar to the traditional Alexa but with some important upgrades and modifications. Because of patient confidentially laws, the interactions and communications are private and secured.

"Our partnership with a company called Aiva Health Care produces this amazing system that keeps everything safe," said Mark Chilutti, with Magee. "We are the first rehabilitation hospital in the area to have this."

With technology doing the simpler tasks, the staff can spend more time on skilled interventions.

For Taylor, Alexa has become a new best friend.

"She definitely does sometimes gets on my nerves," Taylor said, "but I am lucky to have her."

Magee has the smart technology in all 83 patient rooms and hopes to expand its use even more.

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