In part 1 of this blog series, we discussed the impact of voice technology in supporting patients in their care management efforts. However, the applications of this revolutionary technology extend well beyond the patient level. Voice technology has also the potential to radically improve the day-to-day activities of a healthcare provider (HCP) and transform the healthcare ecosystem in fundamental ways.
Similar to the patient journey, HCPs follow a healthcare provider journey and run through a number of typical tasks where voice technology can ease and elevate the outcome. Voice technology allows them to focus on the real value-adding tasks and to spend more quality time with patients.
A study from 2016 unearthed that physicians spend nearly 50% of their time in office on paperwork. When patients come in for a consultation, they are required to answer an exhaustive list of questions about their medical history, administrative, or legal documentation, such as consent forms or proof of awareness. With the help of voice technology, this process can be done by the patients themselves and HCPs are saved from having to trudge through pages upon pages of patient data to seek out specific information.
Support diagnostics and update knowledge
Once the patient is onboarded, the diagnostic process in the near future will be supported by voice-enabled diagnosis dialogue systems. Currently, patients can run through a symptom check on their own (e.g., with the help of ADA or WebMD); however, the same technology will sooner or later help physicians to crack the tough nuts, e.g., by speeding up the diagnosis of rare and ultra rare diseases.
While diagnosing and consulting with the patient, the HCP can retrieve relevant information from voice-enabled knowledge centers. Imagine the following conversation as a typical discussion during a doctor-patient session:
- HCP to patient: “Given this diagnosis, I tend to prescribe an anti-rheumatic drug like Diclofenac. This type of drug interacts with other medication quite frequently, so I need to ask if you take any other medication.”
- Patient to HCP: “Actually, yes. I am on Xarelto to treat my AF.”
- HCP: “Alexa, is there any interaction listed between Xarelto and Diclofenac?”
- Alexa: “Using Xarelto together with Diclofenac may increase the risk of bleeding, including severe and sometimes fatal hemorrhage. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any unusual bleeding or bruising, or have other signs and symptoms, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, red or black, tarry stools, coughing, vomiting fresh or dried blood that looks like coffee grounds, severe headache, and weakness.
- HCP: “OK, any interactions between Xarelto and Prednisolon?”
- Alexa: “No, the database does not show any interactions.”
With such natural, intuitive interactions, HCPs will be able to speed up the treatment process and focus on its most relevant aspects. In cases where the HCPs already know that only one compound is available or one company is actively marketing a treatment, they will also have the option to launch company-specific knowledge bases right away.
An HCP might use simple voice commands to launch the knowledge center of a specific pharmaceutical company to learn more about the disease. Obviously, this could also cover latest studies, benefits or side effects of a product they are interested in. And given the real-time information management that governs back-end systems, HCPs can be assured that the provided information will always be up-to-date and more importantly, always be compliant.
HCP perspective of patient support platforms: register, discuss, report and fine-tune
Once a patient is on boarded to a voice-supported patient engagement platform, it ultimately means that there is at least one HCP leveraging the same to digitalize a care plan. It simply feels natural that the HCP is interacting with the same avatar while setting up or adjusting the care plan during practice visits.
As a result, an HCP will leverage voice-based avatars not only to manage the patient registration process but also during the visit while discussing treatment options, benefits, and side effects.
Once the patient has left the office, the HCP will use the same service to summarize the anamneses and record treatment decisions. But the usage doesn’t stop there. As a result of the ever-increasing amount of data collected and parameters to be monitored, an HCP will also be in the position to provide ongoing support to fine-tune or adjust the existing plan based on learnings from this specific patient or its cohort. Besides very obvious and direct ways of behavior tracking, it will pick up on the subtle and unnoticed cues to observe the status or change in the patient’s behavior, e.g., by analyzing the tone and the timbre of the patient’s voice, their mood can be assessed and early signs of a major depressive episode can be detected.
Leaping into the future
Despite the abundance of new technologies, voice remains the most natural way in which humans interact. While this technology empowers HCPs to focus and deliver on their core duties, it also allows pharma companies to complement their offering towards a 24/7 multichannel customer experience and build their brand presence in a nonintrusive and compliant manner.
The recently concluded Alexa Diabetes Challenge saw close to 100 participants from across the world leverage health pattern intelligence from various voice-enabled devices to make personalized recommendations and provide constant lifestyle coaching and monitoring.