Voice-First Technology in Healthcare: A Glimpse Into the Future

August 6, 2018

You’ve seen it on the news, and you’ve heard people talking about it: smart speakers, voice assistants, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri and many more.

Voice-first technology.

And then you wonder…how will all of this affect healthcare?

We’re already seeing the beginnings. Cigna, with its new Alexa skill “Answers By Cigna,” has provided an example of a market leader becoming a voice leader.

Boston Children’s Hospital was among the first to deploy voice applications, once again through Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. It launched KidsMD, an Alexa skill designed to provide information for avariety of children’s ailments.

Wolters Kluwer Health has also taken a leadership position within voice-first healthcare, recently purchasing voice-first technology company Emmi Solutions, and ramping up its own internal expertise on how to deliver voice-first healthcare experiences for a variety of stakeholders.

It’s true that Amazon’s Alexa, and the corresponding Echo ecosystem of hardware, is not yet HIPAA compliant. But the time is now to be experimenting, to be investigating, to be learning about this shift in computing that is leading us to engaging with devices with our voices first, and other methods (such as touchscreens and keyboard/mouse) second, if at all.

These advances have not come without costs. Privacy and security are top of mind for many, as this technology revolutionizes one marketplace after another. Understanding the best practices in how companies are managing these concerns, which sit at odds with widespread implementation of voice first experiences, is fundamental to the growth of any healthcare business.

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