Voice and healthcare: increase efficiency, improve patient experience
Voice assistants can help increase efficiency and improve the patient experience at hospitals and with healthcare providers. The main reason voice assistant are becoming more popular for healthcare is ease of use. People can speak to them as they would speak to a normal person. This even applies to the senior population. Seniors are a large part of the patients that need healthcare and are in more need of information about their health and their health needs.
Several hospitals are experimenting with voice assistants in patient rooms. John Halamka, MD, CIO at Beth Israel Hospital explains: “If you are an inpatient, what are the things typically you would like to know? When will my doctor be here? What’s for lunch? Simple types of things for which you need answers. Today, you pull a cord installed in 1955 that flips a relay that turns on a light that means a nurse might be there in 10 minutes. Even modern nurse call systems still are very reminiscent of things that would have been in hospital rooms in the 1950s.” Halamka questioned why healthcare professionals still think in that particular workflow when there is data in electronic form to answer these questions. Now, patients can say, “Alexa? Ask BIDMC to call a nurse.” And Alexa will respond, “OK, I have just sent a request for a nurse.” Or, “Alexa? Ask BIDMC what is my diet?” And Alexa replies, “You are restricted to a bland diet for the day. To order a meal, call extension 12345.” “Why should it be any different than that?” Halamka asked. “You develop these use-cases for which questions a patient typically asks, ones that can be asked through micro-services plumbed through the Alexa API.”
Also for patients at home voice assistants, like the Google Assistant on your mobile phone, can be very usefull to get information and advice. A patient might want to know upfront where he/she could park the car, who the doctor is or the exact routing within the hospital. Or even earlier in the process, the voice assistant allows patients to get information about the nearest urgent care and hospital locations, as well as the approximate wait times at those locations. Or the patient can use the voice assistant technology to schedule their personal care attendant, the technology can then check on schedules to see who is going to be on the next shift. Patients can set reminders for routine tasks such as taking medications, setting up doctor appointments, and other medical events or simple health advice, like information on common conditions and medicine dosing.
Author: Joey Scheufler, founder and CEO Prappers Media.