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Voice Technology Applications in Healthcare

by Sara Foster | Sep 04, 2018

alexa-stethoscopeSiri, Alexa, Cortana, Google – more and more people are using these voice assistants in their everyday lives. As voice becomes more rooted in daily life, healthcare organizations are looking to include voice technology in their digital offerings.

Answers by Cigna - Alexa Skill

At the recent Voice of Healthcare Summit, vendors, payors and providers came together to discuss emerging voice technology. In her opening keynote, Rowena Track, global VP of digital, channel and partner marketing at Cigna, discussed the importance of content and its importance as a strategic asset in the development of Cigna’s Answers by Cigna Alexa skill.

One of Cigna’s main goals in developing the Alexa skill was to demystify complex medical terminology. A 2017 survey of Cigna subscribers found that 20% of respondents did not understand the word “premium” and 66% did not understand the word “formulary.” It seems reasonable to assume that subscribers are less likely to fully utilize their benefits when they don't understand the information in their plan. Answers by Cigna is currently able to address over 250 subjects.

According to Track, healthcare organizations have a lot of content, but content has to be used in a format appropriate to the medium. Cigna found that keeping answers short for voice questions was key. Cigna utilized internal and external partnerships of diverse expertise to develop their product. They also used early testing with pilots to fine-tune the skill.

Boston Children’s Hospital KidsMD App

Boston Children’s Hospital debuted their Alexa skill in 2016, putting the organization among the earliest healthcare organizations to adopt the Alexa technology. The KidsMD skill allows parents to find out if their child’s symptoms require an in-person visit, ask questions about medications and dosages or better understand a health condition. The app has been so successful that the hospital is planning an updated version.

The information utilized by KidsMD comes directly from Boston Children’s pediatric physicians, making it a trusted information source.

The organization is currently piloting other applications using Alexa, such as:

  • A checklist to guide surgical teams through procedures in a step-by-step manner
  • An organ verification process for transplant teams that uses a voice-conducted process which is documented in the medical record
  • An application that documents which practitioners are assigned to individual ICU beds.
Is your organization using voice technology applications? If not, is it under consideration?
  • HealthCare Content
  • voice assistant
  • Alexa
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