Voice technology such as Alexa, Siri, Echo, and Dot has changed the way we interact with our devices, accomplish our daily tasks, access information, communicate, check the weather, listen to our music, and even order take-out.

With the voice tech industry projected to quadruple its revenue by 2022, its impact on our lives is not looking to slow down. While this technology continues to grow rapidly for personal mobile and home-based use, it also has exciting applications in healthcare that can improve the patient experience and healthcare outcomes.

The dawn of voice technology

With voice technology recognizing 99% of spoken words and continuing to improve, the speech recognition hurdle has been cleared. Have you ever used Siri to set your alarm clock or Cortana to remind you of a meeting? Then you’re in good company. Consider the following:

  • 22% of smart home speaker owners have used the devices for purchases.
  • 2 of 5 adults use voice search daily.
  • By 2020, 50% of all searches will use voice technology.

Since voice can be applied to most device types, it is revolutionizing how we gather information and interact with technology. Soon, people may use voice apps for most of their device interactions, eliminating the need for typing, texting, and even the traditional way of surfing the web.

Beyond just being quicker and more convenient to use, voice tech can help consumers in stressful situations. For example, a frantic parent holding a child can ask their voice assistant, “Where is the best place to take my sick child today?” The results can be a list of the top-rated pediatricians in the area, providing highly targeted recommendations with more precise results, in less time.

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How does voice technology work?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) help drive voice tech’s capabilities. As ML allows computers to learn from patterns, recommendations can be made based on users’ histories and habits. Over time, it continues to learn and improve.

Voice technology in healthcare today

Today, medical centers are using Alexa for data transmission to patients’ homes. And doctors are using it for surgical note taking and record keeping. In other applications, patients interact with voice technology to access information about common symptoms and prescription medicine dosages.

All of these applications eliminate the need for manual searches, saving precious time and ensuring that the relevant data does not get lost in a sea of metadata. It also makes it more practical and accessible for patients to participate in their own healthcare. Beyond these basic uses of voice tech in healthcare, what are the upcoming possibilities?

Future of voice tech + healthcare

Despite often being hampered by the slow pace of becoming HIPAA compliant, voice technologies are expanding in healthcare. For example, Amazon has teamed up with a pharmaceutical company to create a voice application that assists customers in managing therapy for chronic conditions.

With an average of 50% of patients noncompliant with drug dosing instructions, voice technology, such as Alexa, can help encourage individuals to take their medications and track their use. Alexa crossed another major hurdle recently with its first HIPAA-compliant skills. This creates a framework for developers to create innovative voice-driven capabilities for patients and caregivers.

Beyond prescriptions, patients with chronic conditions can help manage all of their therapy. For example, the Mayo Clinic is expanding its voice technology capabilities with an eye toward helping patients with home therapy. One of its solutions is a voice app that assists patients in following doctor’s instructions after discharge from the hospital. Another pilot program involves Alexa interacting with a device that can dispense medication based on voice commands.

The voice technology industry is continuing to grow rapidly, both in revenue and its impact on our lives. Though still in its infancy in the medical industry, voice tech is poised to revolutionize how patients manage their health and how organizations provide care for enhanced outcomes.

Want to learn more about designing, developing, or enhancing voice technology or other digital tools for your business or healthcare organization? Contact us or learn from other organizations in the customer stories.