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Covenant Health Launches Helen, New Interactive COVID-19 Chat Assistant

April 8, 2020

Helen Connects Patients with Nurses and Schedules Virtual Telehealth Medical Appointments

Covenant Health has launched “Helen,” a new interactive chat assistant to help people navigate COVID-19 medical care without having to leave home. Helen guides users through a coronavirus symptom checker and advises on next steps for care, including connecting users with nurses who can answer specific care questions and schedule telehealth appointments with a medical provider.

“We’re very excited to offer this type of digital service right now,” says Covenant Health Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Mandy Halford, MD. “In the face of this pandemic, our team is working diligently to create innovative solutions that allow our patients to connect with their care team from the comfort of their home.”

When users first connect with Helen, they are guided through a coronavirus symptom assessment, based on current CDC COVID-19 guidelines. “We know that the majority of COVID-19 patients will experience mild or moderate symptoms,” says Dr. Halford. “In this population, we can help patients check their symptoms and determine the next appropriate steps for care, while encouraging self-isolation.”

Patients with questions about their symptoms can use Helen to connect with a nurse. “They can chat for free with one of our nurses and get the answers they need about their individual situation. Our nurses can also help the patient navigate to the appropriate level of care, including scheduling a telehealth session with their primary care physician or one of our medical providers.”

Telehealth sessions allow the patient at home to video chat with the medical provider using a mobile device or computer. During the virtual appointment, the provider can assess the patient, prescribe treatment, and order COVID-19 testing if needed.

Patients who report life-threatening symptoms are encouraged to call 911 or go to their local emergency department. “Covenant Health hospitals ask suspected COVID-19 patients to call ahead before going to the emergency department. Helen and our nursing team can assist the patient with calling ahead, and will even text them a link that includes a Google map and phone number.”

Helen is available at Covenant and on all hospital and medical practice websites throughout the Covenant Health system. The symptom checker is for adults 18 years of age and older; questions about COVID-19 for patients under 18 years of age should be directed to the child’s pediatrician. For more information about Helen, please visit

About Covenant Health

Covenant Health is a community-owned health system providing comprehensive health services throughout Tennessee. Headquartered in Knoxville, Covenant Health includes 10 hospitals as well as outpatient services and clinics. The health system also includes specialty providers of behavioral, oncology, and rehabilitation services, along with home care, physician clinics, and community wellness programs. The area’s largest employer, Covenant Health has more than 10,000 employees, affiliated physicians and volunteers who serve two million patients annually. Covenant Health has received regional and national recognition for quality and patient satisfaction, and has been named five times to Forbes “Best Employer” lists. For more information, visit