Can voice assistants be used in healthcare?

We’re big advocates for using personal automation tools, like voice assistants, in health and fitness but are the platforms reliable enough to use in critical healthcare?

It’s all fine and well to have Alexa record your water intake or iOS Health to log number of miles walked but is the tech at a point where it could be relied on for more serious healthcare matters such as reminding patients when to take pills?

Techmed site Prescriber reports on a recent study conducted in Staffordshire UK that explored the possibility of using Alexa to remind patients with diabetes and other ailments to take their pills. The study found that the voice assistant was pretty much ready to go ‘out of the box’.

If you’re in the healthcare industry you’re usually taught the 6 Rs of medicine administration; “taking the right medicine, via the right route, at the right time and at the right dose.” Most and nearly all of these points can be assisted by a voice assistant.

Several patients with type 1 diabetes explained that they often found it difficult to remember whether or not they had taken their last dose of insulin, but as long as they had told Alexa to ‘tick it off the list’ when they took it, they could re-check their list later and see that it had been crossed out.

Prescriber

The study went on to conclude that “whether organising medication reminders or educating patients about their condition, Alexa can be used alongside existing strategies to improve adherence to prescribed medication and other recommended health interventions.” Too right.  

Prescriber: “Alexa… what pills do I need to take today?”

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