Can Voice Technology Transform Healthcare?

Salwa Al-Tahan

Salwa Al-Tahan

4th February 2022

Why do we need them?

As we all know we are currently in a world where our healthcare systems are overstretched. 

Hospitals and GP practices are working with a shrinking workforce and facing ongoing health challenges since Covid-19. Furthermore, management are under immense pressure to delegate their staff accordingly- adhering to time schedules, managing the increasing number of appointments of an ageing society and to improve the flow of patients coming in and out efficiently. 

‘What is the solution?’ you may wonder….

Well let’s take a look at the world around us.

People are increasingly immersed with the use of digital screens and signs, whether it’s for advertisements or to order a McDonalds burger via a kiosk. We have all adapted and embraced technology quickly, particularly the younger generation.  So with all the fast paced advances and preparations for Metaverse surely we can incorporate some of this technology in our healthcare practices, to allow for improved efficiency checking in and better deployment of staff? 

 

How?

Well thanks to the ease of accessibility, an increase in availability of digital screens and tech companies offering solutions. Some healthcare providers have already grasped the opportunities and incorporated interactive touch screen kiosks into their practices. Encouraging patients to self check-in, and are undoubtedly already seeing the benefits. With an increase in patient satisfaction and a reduction in long queue times amongst other positives. But there is still scope for further improvements and to gain traction from those yet to embrace these exciting technological developments. 

Also let’s address that there are some lingering concerns around touching public screens and buttons. So having a contact free option will add another win to both patients and the healthcare system. By providing an omnichannel solution, practices can for the first time serve the visually or physically impaired, simply by allowing them to use the voice commands option. Those with hearing impairment can continue to use the touch screen as before. This flexibility will make arrival and self check-in, more inclusive and stress free.

Over the last 20 years we have all become very familiar with the use of smartphones and graphical interfaces so using our voice to communicate with devices such as Alexa and Siri have become a natural transition with an estimated 48% annual growth.

Below are some figures to ponder on:

  • $40B voice commerce in US by 2022 – OC&C
  • 91% of US brands are investing in voice – Adobe
  • 8.4 billion predicted virtual assistants in 2024 – Statisa.com
  • 46% of Americans use voice assistants – Pew Research 
 

With the above insight Sodaclick sees that voice self check-in kiosks for pre-booked patient appointments is certainly a much needed extension to the fast paced world that we are in.

What is a voice self check-in kiosk?

Voice AI simply allows patients to speak to the digital kiosk through our Sodaclick conversational AI which has a microphone and a speaker built in.

The patient begins after being greeted and prompted politely by a near human like synthetic voice.

They are then asked to state their date of birth, confirm their scheduled appointment and check in without the need to touch the screen or speak face to face with a receptionist.

Clearly this all minimises contact risk and improves hygiene within the environment. Furthermore analytics has shown that voice commands are faster to grasp as a concept and process than navigating a touch screen. Ultimately reducing queue times and increasing speed of patients being checked in as well as overall satisfaction is always paramount to both management and patients.

You may initially wonder about the regulations and privacy associated with ‘speaking’ a patients information, however this is not anything different from the existing way of conversing with a receptionist. Furthermore rest assured that Sodaclick conversational AI and voice solutions adhere to HIPAA and  GDPR with no patient personal data stored or saved. Anonymous observational demographic data can be collected if practices choose to help them analyse certain metrics.

Understandably this can be considered a huge technological leap for healthcare providers. There might be fears of how these kiosks will be received within the community and particular concerns over its ease of use for the older age range, however market research has already shown that particularly seniors are comfortable with voice commands as it’s just so natural and easy to use.

What is the technology?

Sodaclick Voice uses ASR- Automatic Speech Recognition, NLU- Natural Language Understanding with multi-lingual features in over 85 languages and variants in an unbelievably human-like speech synthesis. This is what makes our self check-in kiosks engaging, comfortable and suitable for use worldwide.

We use patented noise cancellation technology from our partners- incorporating a multi array element microphone, and our own proprietary software beamforming technology. This makes our self check-in kiosks suitable for use in busy hospitals and clinics, as they only listen to the speaker in range and don’t pick up any unnecessary background noise.

Additionally kiosks can be integrated easily with our conversational AI SDK for way finding, to inform patients of delays or expected waiting times and give any special personalised instructions. Such as ‘please collect a specimen bottle from reception’, or ‘please remove your coat and roll up your sleeve before your vaccination’ in a friendly, inviting and polite manner. You can also add messages to a clinician’s session eg.’ Dr.Evans has a medical student working with him today’. All of these examples make our conversational kiosks ideal for modernising GP’s, hospitals and clinic settings. 

Click the demo below to get a glimpse of how it can work.

Conclusion:

Voice self check-in kiosks will improve

Healthcare

  • Improve healthcare staff’s use of time
  • Reduce check in queue times
  • Smoother operations during peak hours
  • Help during staff shortages
  • Help staff focus
  • Inclusive of visual/ physical impairments
  • Uptick in customer service
  • Increase overall employee moral
  • Allow for better productivity
  • Improve hygiene

Patients

  • Easy to use
  • Friendly and engaging
  • Improve hygiene making patients more comfortable 
  • Multi lingual overcoming any language barriers
  • Enhance patient satisfaction levels
  • Practical solution with Voice AI empowering the visually or physically impaired 
  • Increase loyalty through personalised experiences

To find out more on integration or for any questions, please contact us below.

Sodaclick Ltd. London, UK

Sodaclick is a digital solutions platform specialising in dynamic content and voice-controlled AI experiences at every touchpoint