Will Voice AI Technology Transform Healthcare?

Salwa Al-Tahan

Salwa Al-Tahan

16th December 2021

Why?

As we all know we are currently in a world where our healthcare systems are over stretched. Hospitals and GP practices are working with a shrinking workforce and facing ongoing health challenges due 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 via a kiosk- we have all adapted and embraced quickly particularly the younger generation.  So with all the fast paced advances in technology and preparations for Metaverse,  surely we can incorporate technology to allow for better deployment of staff relieving them of the simple tasks such as patients checking in, thus allowing our healthcare practices to serve the community better.

How?

Well thanks to the ease of accessibility, an increase in manufacturing and availability of digital screens and tech companies offering solutions some healthcare providers have already grasped the opportunities and incorporated interactive touch screens into their practices- encouraging patients to self check- in. Undoubtedly 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 more improvements and to gain traction from those still yet to embrace these exciting technological developments. 

Realistically with concerns around Covid heightened once again, eliminating the need to physically touch a screen will add another win to both patients and the healthcare system making arrival and self check-in even more 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
  • 25% increase in virtual assistants in 2020 – Gartner
  • 46% of Americans use voice assistants – Pew Research
 

With the above insight Sodaclick sees that voice self check- in kiosks for pre booked appointments for patients 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 prompted politely by a near human like synthetic voice asking them to state their date of birth, confirming their scheduled appointment and checking 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 inevitably reducing queue times.

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 with 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 even the elderly 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 an unbelievably human like speech synthesis, making it engaging, comfortable and suitable for use worldwide.

Additionally kiosks can be integrated easily with our conversational AI SDK for way finding- to give directions, 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’ for a vaccination in a friendly, inviting and polite manner. You can also add messages to a clinician’s session eg.’ Dr.Patel has a medical student working with him today’. All of these make our conversational kiosks ideal for modernising GP’s, hospitals and clinic settings.

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 staff focus
  • Uptick in customer service
  • Increases overall employee moral
  • Allow for better productivity
  • Improve hygiene

Patients

  • Easy to use
  • Improved hygiene making patients more comfortable 
  • Immersive customer experience
  • Enhance patient satisfaction levels
  • Increase loyalty through personalised experiences

Sodaclick Ltd. London, UK

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