GreyMatters 2018

Alexa Will Hear You Now

“Alexa, unlock the front door.”

“Siri, where’s the nearest Thai food place?”

Voice assistants are becoming more prominent in today’s lifestyle. Alexa, Siri and Cortana are on standby 24/7 to help us with everything from telling us the time to turning our security systems off and on, keeping us on track with to-do lists and shopping lists, and much, much more. So it’s no surprise that healthcare developers are looking at ways to incorporate voice assistance technology into healthcare settings.

The promise and pitfalls of voice assistants in healthcare were discussed by a panel of three developers at the recent Connected Health Conference in Boston. Nathan Treloar, president and COO of Orbita; Anne Weiler, cofounder and CEO of Wellpepper; and Andy Kropa, founder of SoundMind Intelligence offered these observations:

  • Voice is a more natural way of engaging with technology. And a more conversational style is more natural in healthcare settings. Patients have a strong need to be heard and voice can help patients to feel cared for with empathy.
  • A perfect storm, of sorts, is leading to the rise of voice technology: increasing ease of use, price point and increasing ubiquity of the technology. The widespread development and use of mobile technology has helped to pave the way for adoption of voice technology.
  • The potential for data collection with voice technology is great and healthcare organizations are always on the hunt for more data on their patients.

The panel also discussed some of the challenges they see with using voice in healthcare:

  • Developers cannot use a cut-and-paste approach to develop voice apps for healthcare use. Simply copying a long-form web article into an app isn’t effective because of the differences in reading and voice. People want to interact, not be lectured to.
  • Careful thought is required to effectively translate web content to voice apps. For example, a health assessment that asks which symptoms a person is having cannot have a 50-item list of symptoms, as it would be too difficult for the patient to comprehend in a meaningful way.
  • Not everyone speaks the same – there are accents, colloquialisms and other alternate speaking patterns. People often mispronounce the names of health conditions and medications.
  • People may occasionally need to be reminded that they are speaking to a computer.

Has your organization started to use voice technology? If not, is it something you’re considering?

User-Generated Content and Social Media Influence

social-mediaA recent report on social media research reinforces the effect of personal updates on social media have on purchasing decisions.

Sprout Social’s report, Moments & Milestones: UGC, Brands & Emotional Touchpoints on Social, included 1200+ respondents. They found that:

  • 79% of people prefer using social media to share life milestones with family and friends.
  • Facebook is by far the preferred platform for sharing personal updates, followed by Instagram and Snapchat.
  • People are more likely to mention brands in celebration-related posts – specifically, those posts related to travel, personal achievements and family updates.
  • Reasons why people share life milestones on social media include:
    • Invite people in their network to celebrate
    • Inform their network
    • Share helpful information
    • Acknowledgement
    • Receive congratulations
    • Answer questions about experience
    • Increase social standing

How do these findings impact marketers? Three simple words: word of mouth. Social media has become a preferred method to connect with family and friends, and this amplifies recommendations for brands, products, services and more. For example, people like to mention places they stayed, places they visited and their travel mode when they travel. This is an opportunity for marketers to tie their message to events such as this, using the power of user-generated promotion to increase their reach.

How does your organization use user-generated content?

Augmented Reality Use in Pediatrics

augmented_realityAugmented reality (AR) is a newer technology that is becoming more prominent as the technology evolves. One example of AR use in healthcare comes from a pediatric hospital in the UK.

Keeping patients informed and satisfied is one thing in the adult population. It’s an entirely different matter in the pediatric population, with a child’s developmental level dependent on his/her age and other factors. How do you inform, entertain and distract patients from toddlers to teens?

With contributions from various vendors and other partners, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, developed and launched an AR tablet app for its patients. The app, Alder Play, is available on iOS and Android platforms. It includes a chatbot, “Ask Ollie,” that informs both patients and their parents about useful information. Videos that explain various procedures are also included.

Each child can choose an avatar that will guide them through the hospital, provide information, entertainment and support, and offer challenges that, once completed, will unlock new content. The app’s purpose is to distract patients during procedures, and increase their comfort by decreasing fears and worries. By offering challenges and rewards, children can be encouraged to better participate in their care and work towards their health goals.

The National Health Service was one of the backers of Alder Play, and it is believed that a successful trial of the AR app at Alder Hey will lead to its use in other UK pediatric hospitals.

Is your organization using AR in any way? Do you have specific apps or other products for pediatric use?

Do You Know About These 6 Super Twitter Tricks?

twitter-tricksMore than likely, your organization has a Twitter presence to some extent or another. Many healthcare organizations are very active with the platform. But even those organizations may not be getting as much out of their efforts as they could. If only there were some tools that could help…

Well, you’re in luck! Here are six Twitter tools you may not be aware of that can enhance your efforts on the platform.

  • How to find old Tweets. Did you know Twitter only shows your last 3,200 Tweets in your timeline? Sometimes you have a need to locate an old Tweet. If you’re looking for a Tweet older than the past 3,200, there is a way to find them. You can filter older Tweets by date using this search command in the Twitter search bar: from:[your Twitter @handle] since:[insert date range]. As example, let’s say you want to find Tweets from a campaign your organization ran in February of 2014, and you work at Citizen’s Hospital (@CitizensHospital). Your search command would be: from:@CitizensHospital since: 2014-02-01 until:2014-02-28
  • How did that Tweet perform? You can get information quickly about how an individual Tweet performed by looking at the Tweet Activity, which can be found by clicking on the “View Tweet activity” icon beneath the Tweet. This will give you data about the number of impressions and total engagements, along with a breakdown of the various interactions (likes, retweets, replies, etc.).
  • Promoted Tweets. Through the “View Tweet activity” icon discussed above, you can also promote a Tweet. If you have a Tweet that’s performing especially well with a message you’re trying to promote, paying to promote that Tweet can pay off, as the cost per click for top-performing posts can be low. You can find all your top-performing Tweets in the Analytics section.
  • Get valuable insights about your Twitter audience. The Analytics section of Twitter offers demographic information about your followers, such as:
    • Gender
    • Interests
    • Occupation
    • Household income
    • Net worth
    • Marital status
    • Education
    • Consumer buying styles
    • Mobile carrier provider
    • Home ownership status

Knowing this type of information can help you to create messages that resonate with your followers.

  • Do a deeper data analysis by downloading your data. There is an “Export Data” button located in the Analytics section under the “Tweets” tab. You’ll be better able to look at your data in this format.
  • Twitter Moments. If you’re not aware of Twitter Moments, it’s a type of slideshow collection of Tweets about a particular topic you can use to tell a story. This feature is currently available only in the Desktop version of Twitter. This is an option if you’d like to collect all your Tweets about a particular topic or event in one location. You can include related Tweets from others in addition to your own Tweets.

What are some of your favorite Twitter tips?

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