Speech Readies Healthcare for ACA Requirements

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 virtual assistant that can help members complete sections of Medicare enrollment applications in less than 15 minutes.

"In application versus agents, agents have to be trained on so many rules," says Noah Sniderman, sales director at Interactions. "The beauty about building a computer application, which is what we are essentially doing, is that if the application is designed correctly, it never fails. There's a lot more consistency when it comes to healthcare laws and security. The key is making sure that it's something that the customer can use."

Nuance has not provided many details about Florence, an IVA for clinicians that uses speech recognition and natural language understanding. In 2013, Nick van Terheyden, M.D., chief medical information officer at Nuance, explained that Florence has the capacity to carry on conversational dialogues with clinicians and follow their instructions. Florence has been through testing with hospitals but was not slated to be commercially available within electronic health records until late 2014, according to Bonnie Cassidy, senior director of health information management innovation at Nuance.

Multichannel Might Cure What Ails Healthcare

David Claiborn, director of experience innovation at United Healthcare, says that the insurance provider is very focused on providing a personalized experience for members, while at the same time recognizing that its members are both multimodal and multichannel.

Claiborn says that United Healthcare began deploying speech technology by using voice recognition within an IVR. However, due to cross channel capabilities, he now believes that IVR interactions most often happen later on in member interactions. The company is channel agnostic, Claiborn says, and while some members might prefer the phone, they are likely to begin their interactions somewhere else, such as chat or an SMS. Claiborn says that the majority of the time, members start on a Web site or mobile application and only migrate to the IVR if they have additional questions.

"When we look at our own data, channels that are being used to interact with our organization, such as secure email or the Web, are exploding exponentially," Claiborn says. "But, the call channel is going up as well, although it's incremental, comparatively speaking. It's a foundational change within a service experience. Our members are carrying personalized, digitalized mobile devices to drive a much better personalized, specific, contextually relevant experience."

Tying together multichannel and self-service capabilities, in April 2014, Aspect launched a healthcare solution suite, Aspect Healthcare, which integrates voice recognition, analytics, and biometrics technology from other providers. The solution suite includes Patient Connect, a central hub for patients being treated by providers that have multiple locations. It enables patient information, including appointments, lab results, and insurance information, to be shared between provider sites. Other solutions in the suite include the Aspect Healthcare Back Office Optimizer, Aspect Healthcare Performance Management, and Aspect Workforce Management.

"Whether a patient calls directly into their healthcare system or accesses more advanced self-service solutions, speech analytics combined with recording capabilities is even more critical to give healthcare providers the tools they need to provide a superior patient experience," Aspect's Dobrozdravic wrote in an email. "Patient recordings can quickly demonstrate to supervisors how interactions are being handled, creating a feedback loop that allows for immediate correction of employee behavior before the patient experience is impacted."

Data Protection with Biometrics

Voice biometrics provider VoiceVault has a variety of solutions for both healthcare providers and insurance companies. One of VoiceVault's offerings is a voiceprint solution used by clinicians who may keep EHRs stored on their tablets or smartphones. In the 

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