Healthcare Seen as Voice Technology's Newest Frontier

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Within the past several years, the market for voice technologies has exploded. It is projected to reach $49 billion, mainly because consumers are willing to use voice assistants to ask questions and request services.

Within the overall voice market, the healthcare industry provides an opportunity to make the provider and patient interaction easier and more effective, according to research from Aging in Place Technology Watch, which found that healthcare and health information providers are adding voice assistants to their websites and services.

In the "Voice, Health and Wellbeing 2020" research report, industry analyst Laurie Orlov noted that during the past few years, multiple health-related voice assistants have been introduced, adding to those from Mayo Clinic and Boston Children's Hospital. These assistants, she said, are now making it easier for consumers to ask about specific drugs online.

Voice is also being used in medical transcription, with offerings potentially replacing the role of 17,000 scribes. In addition, organizations are beginning to voice-enable hospital rooms, physician charting, and wellness tracking for consumers.

Although work is being explored in voice as a health diagnostic tool, most uses today are rudimentary and experimental, Orlov points out. The future is exciting, she says. With the beginning of HIPAA-compliance, diagnostic capabilities based on voice, and increased personalization capability, voice-first technology promises to provide greater assistance to health professionals and a better experience for consumers at home. 2020 will see more entrants into this early segment, refining what works and adds value, she predicts.

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