Mercy Launches “Joy” Chatbot to Revolutionize Employee Benefits Access

February 21, 2024

Mercy, a leader in health care innovation, introduces “Joy,” a groundbreaking chatbot that transforms how co-workers access information about their benefits. Developed as part of Mercy’s collaboration with Microsoft, Joy leverages cutting-edge generative artificial intelligence technology that acts as a super-smart assistant.

Joy Generative AI Benfits Chatbot

“Joy addresses a long-standing challenge faced by our co-workers," said Kerry Bommarito, Mercy vice president of enterprise data science. “Before Joy, navigating through tens or even hundreds of documents on our intranet for benefits information was time consuming and complicated. With Joy, it’s as simple as having a conversation with someone who has all the answers and can respond to your questions and offer an explanation 24/7.”

Ayanna Pierce, Mercy’s vice president of benefits and talent relations center, emphasized the transformative impact the new chatbot brings because it reduces the volume of calls to her team, freeing them up to take on more complex issues and deliver quicker results.

“Joy is a game changer for our benefits team," said Pierce. “The annual health insurance open enrollment period is our ‘Super Bowl’ in the HR profession, when we receive the most requests for help all year. Our co-workers no longer need to sift through countless documents because Joy delivers answers instantly in a way that might even be more comprehensive than what a live agent would deliver.”

Joy, powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and other Azure AI and data solutions, acts as a personal benefits guru, understanding questions and providing helpful answers instantly. The new chatbot utilizes a large language model, or LLM, which is like a giant library filled with knowledge that Joy seamlessly taps into. This technology provides accurate responses to co-workers’ inquiries about their benefits in a way that feels familiar and even human. Joy can take a complicated question related to time off under the Federal and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and present an easy-to-understand answer without forcing the co-worker to spend time wading through multiple online documents.

"We are proud to have collaborated with Mercy to bring Joy to life as part of our ongoing collaboration,” said Tyler Bryson, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for health and public sector industries. “Joy is evidence of Mercy embracing a forward-thinking approach to AI, as well as a testament to the power of generative AI in revolutionizing the employee experience in health care. We are looking forward to continuing our work with Mercy as we identify additional opportunities for generative AI-enabled innovation across its organization.”

“We introduced our first ‘original’ AI solution a decade ago, and our collaboration with Microsoft underscores our ongoing commitment to keep pushing forward by adopting tools that empower our co-workers’ to better serve themselves and our patients,” said Byron Yount, Mercy’s chief data and AI officer. “Joy delivers on the first of three generative AI-powered solutions we committed to designing when we announced our collaboration with Microsoft last year. This is just the beginning. We’ll be able to use what we learn from Joy to launch new patient-facing technologies and improve existing services.”