How voice automation can relieve pressure on health services

Gary Williams of Spitch, explains some of the ways in which voice automation can help the healthcare service post COVID-19

Voice automation technology will have a major impact on healthcare services, reducing administrative burden, enabling remote healthcare, and improving diagnostics

Once the realm of science fiction, voice technology is now woven into the fabric of everyday life.

Around 20% of households in the UK own some form of smart speaker, engaging with businesses like Amazon and Google with words, rather than clicks.

And, as voice technology becomes a permanent fixture of our homes, consumers are now more comfortable using it to manage every aspect of their lives, from ordering food to booking appointments, and even checking their bank balances.

So what if that same level of convenience and instant service could be applied to healthcare?

With COVID-19 currently stretching the resources of healthcare organisations around the world, automated ‘telehealth’ is attracting a lot of attention.

With COVID-19 currently stretching the resources of healthcare organisations around the world, automated ‘telehealth’ is attracting a lot of attention

The positive impact of voice automation was well documented even before the pandemic. In fact, a 2017 case study found a correlation between voice-activated technology and improved clinical outcomes for heart failure patients.

And the applications of voice technology in healthcare are almost limitless.

With mounting evidence suggesting it could be an integral part of a patient’s care programme, here are some examples of how voice technology could be used in healthcare.

Reducing administrative burden

When routine services eventually return to pre-pandemic levels, there will be a significant backlog of appointments that need to be scheduled in.

By applying natural language processing and call steering to the appointment booking system, hospitals could free up resource for receptionists and allow patients to choose, book, or reschedule visits, reducing costly Did Not Attends (DNAs).

Remote healthcare

With COVID forcing many non-essential appointments to be cancelled or postponed, one of the biggest applications of voice technology is in remote healthcare.

A well-programmed voice technology solution gives quick, accurate, and efficient diagnosis, and improves the effectiveness of treatments without the need for a large outlay of resources

Voice technology could be programmed so that it works in tandem with those voice assistants that patients recognise at home.

This can help to remind doctors about patient needs and also be used as a way to help patients to engage with their self care programmes.

Diagnostics

One remarkable way that voice technology could be deployed is to aid doctors with diagnoses.

Voice technology and machine learning can be programmed to learn and detect changes in patients voices that are associated with certain conditions such as Parkinson’s.

It is much more accurate than a human ear and can also potentially diagnose conditions before symptoms occur.

Voice technology and machine learning can be programmed to help diagnose conditions such as Parkinson's

The benefits

By giving patients the ability to be a part of their own care, healthcare providers empower them to maintain a better healthcare regime.

And the use of voice technology as part of a more-holistic view of healthcare means patients are able to engage with their healthcare and improve the results of the care itself.

Voice technology is an effective way to enact a more-holistic healthcare strategy that integrates technology alongside patient empowerment

And fast diagnostics means better resource allocation.

Using voice technology to diagnose diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and depression can help clinicians treat those diseases more effectively.

A well-programmed voice technology solution gives quick, accurate, and efficient diagnosis, and improves the effectiveness of treatments without the need for a large outlay of resources.

By giving patients the tools they need to be able to manage their own care, enhancing diagnosis and advancing digitisation in healthcare, the workload on doctors is also reduced.

This means that they are able to treat patients more effectively, especially when patient numbers are high and the pressure is on.

Voice technology is an effective way to enact a more-holistic healthcare strategy that integrates technology alongside patient empowerment.

This allows providers to increase the quality of the care they provide while also reducing unnecessary costs.

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