The healthcare industry is making a move towards integrating voice assisted technology into care plans for both patients and providers in the form of voice-enabled search optimization and technology, like the Amazon Alexa. Currently, there are more than 1,000 Alexa Skills that focus on health and fitness, many offering a range of tools and tips such as, healthy eating and guidance, meditation and mental health, and daily reminders to track healthy habits.
The popularity of the voice assisted technology trend is based on two factors: accessibility and connectivity. Using voice assisted technology, patients can get answers to their health questions from the comfort of their home. For older patients, patients with physical disabilities, or those who benefit from assisted living, being able to interact with technology using their voice makes it easy to retrieve and follow recommended healthcare routines as well as reach out to friends, family, and other caregivers.
The connectivity of this technology to the internet and other smart devices allows patients to keep track of their own health care efforts in detailed records that could easily be shared with their healthcare provider. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri all have mobile capabilities, allowing patients to easily access their tools and reminders while on the go from a smartphone or tablet.
Hands-free interaction, paired with friendly artificial intelligence (AI), resonates with patients on a personal level and has shown the ability to improve their entire healthcare experience. A 2017 study found that 46% of smartphone owners within the United States use voice-enabled search at least once a week, with 55% of voice assistant users highlighting the hands-free nature of the technology as its main appeal.
Notable names in the healthcare industry are already taking advantage of this technology by creating Alexa Skills for their followers. The Mayo Clinic First Aid skill offers quick advice and information for common injuries or illnesses. Blue Cross Blue Shield has separate skills for California and Michigan, each offering patients access to their account and information to questions they may have regarding coverage and health services. The American Heart Association skill can provide information on how to spot a heart attack or stroke and how to perform CPR.
By the year 2020, it is expected that 50% of all search queries will be made using voice. Understanding how voice assisted technology will affect more than just the healthcare industry is a task for all brand managers and marketing firms, and here at BTA we’re already working to help our clients understand this trend.