How to Use Voice-enabled Technology in Healthcare

Voice-enabled technology like Amazon Alexa’s Echo and Dot, and Google’s Home, are making virtual assistants a reality and giving consumers another way to access information, connect with brands, and track their own lives.

And as patients continue to behave more like consumers, there are a multitude of opportunities for healthcare systems to better engage with their patients.

Here are a few examples of innovative ways that healthcare providers can harness the power of voice-enabled technology to better engage their patients:

  • Health information from your own experts. According to a recent article on Forbes,  at least one-third of people living in the U.S. now routinely use symptom checkers for both routine and urgent conditions, including chest pain. Patients are now turning to the internet to answer everything from simple medical questions to deeper research into their ailments. This is an opportunity to combine the appetite for symptom checkers and health related information and make information from your experts available in a frictionless and seamless way.

    Providing a branded symptom checker can ensure that your patients are consuming accurate and trusted information, and can further increase the lifelong relationship between your healthcare brand and the patients. One example of this is KidsMD skill  created by Boston Children’s Hospital. This voice skill allows a user to seek general health information for common ailments and medication dosing.
  • A personal patient assistant. There are modern day conveniences that voice-enabled technology provides, usually while inconspicuously perched in the kitchen or the bedroom of the home. This technology can behave as a patient portal, all without the hassle of someone having to log into their computer. Everything from being reminded of upcoming appointments, requesting medication refills and even providing vitals information to a remote nurse are all possible and can increase touch points and engagement with patients, while making their lives easier.
  • Improving accessibility.. Voice-enabled technologies have enormous potential to present a barrier-free experience of seeking and receiving information. In this survey, one in four people reported a vision issue that impacted their on-screen experience. These voice-enabled technologies remove that on-screen barrier, freeing up the guessing game of whether or not websites will be accessible to a screen reader, or have adequate color contrast or large-enough font to read the text. Instead, as one prepares to walk their dog, they can simply say to the voice-enabled device, “Is it going to rain today?” This is enormously beneficial “on-the-fly” information for someone who is blind and cannot look out the window to see heavy clouds on the horizon.To transfer this concept to the healthcare space, a person with low vision can request an UBER pickup for transportation to an upcoming doctor’s appointment. This removes several accessibility questions that these users face daily:Will the UBER app be accessible? Will I reliably complete the process to successfully request a ride?Will the feedback from the Uber app assure me that I selected the right pick up and drop-off location(s)?

    Voice feedback from these voice-enabled devices remove the guesswork and provides better assurance of the accurate transmission of information.

  • Your personal health dashboard. There are 70 million people in the U.S. wearing tracking devices to monitor their physical activity, sleep patterns, calorie consumption, and other health and wellness aspects and people are now using these voice-enabled devices to track their data.For example, the Kaiser institute was reportedly evaluating products that can analyze various components of a patient’s daily routine and then correlating such personal information with vital signs can produce important insights into an individual’s well-being.

And we know this is just the beginning. As voice-enabled technology begins to fully and seamlessly integrate into our lives, patients will expect these types of capabilities more often and not settle for anything less than a frictionless, seamless, easy experience with all of their providers.

Want to learn more about the impact of voice-enabled technology on healthcare? Join our upcoming webinar on personalizing the patient experience next Wednesday. Register here.