Voice as the Next Great Innovation in Healthcare

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Voice is on the verge of changing everything about healthcare as we know it. Nothing that ever came before it will do more for increasing patient engagement and reducing practitioner burnout. We may even see patients with lifelong illness go from surviving to thriving. All thanks to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Voice is nothing new to healthcare. Doctors and nurses have been using dictation apps to chart for years. The difference now is modern voice apps usually come with the power of AI, machine learning, and natural language processing baked in. That’s what will change the game and Silver is excited to be at the forefront of it all.

Hands-Free Help

The hands-free nature of voice that makes it so effective in its many other use cases translates well to healthcare. Nurses at Boston Children's Hospital ICU are already realizing its benefits. Through a pilot program, they are able to gain insight into basic administrative information using voice. Saving them from picking up the phone, walking down the hall, sorting through a chart etc. In a highly sanitary and time sensitive environment, this is especially useful.

In the operating room, voice again as a touchless interface finds its place. Even in a setting as loud and busy as a surgery room, artificial intelligence allows voice-enabled devices to still listen well (link last blog post here). Especially here, if a device can be efficient at offering up vital information within seconds, it could also mean a reduction in OR staff or saving a life.

Another ease on resources would be the addition of voice in patient rooms. Using recovery as an example, at a basic level, patients could use voice command to control their own environment such as dim the lights or change the temperature of the room. With more integration, patients could order food, request a nurse, or even find out information from their file. Something as simple as blood test results could be shared with a patient without any human contact whatsoever, and the AI machine could decipher whether or not to send a nurse or doctor to the room to talk to the patient further. The possibilities here are endless, and we are looking forward to creating the tech that will turn these plausible scenarios into reality.

Voice as a Medical Assistant

Within the home, apps on household devices like Google Home or Amazon Alexa are empowering caregivers. KidsMD is a great example from Boston Children's Hospital. Parents can talk with Alexa about symptoms of minor childhood illness like fever, runny nose, or a head cold. Through the app, they receive guidance and education on when to see a doctor and how to treat the child at home. Gone are the days of late night calls to the doctor or unnecessary visits to the clinic for minor symptoms!

In a scenario as common as this, it makes sense that voice apps are being developed to address this need. If you look at the population of people utilizing voice, 78% use voice on their phone, 48% dictate to their phone or tablet, and 31% use digital voice devices.

The potential for voice in healthcare has been enough that Google has already had a stake in the market for years. Their interest in the development of voice technologies in the health field has mainly focused on a reduction of the strain in maintaining electronic health records. This is all in response to the estimate that 7 out of 10 doctors feel burnt out or depressed from overwhelming administrative duties. Google recognises the need to invest heavily in acquiring AI and voice technology talent to develop their applications. Soon everyone involved in healthcare

People are already using voice technology to get what they need. As voice experience gets more and more efficient in healthcare, its use will grow exponentially. If you have a business in this rapidly evolving market, reach out to the team at Silver to create your voice app. It could be the one that changes everything.

Shawn Kanungo