Many of us are already used to asking Alexa to turn on a lamp, or play our favourite music – but how can Alexa help in health care settings?
Voice activated devices can take the form of readily available devices such the Alexa-enabled range or Google home, as well as Apple Siri and Microsoft equivalent Cortana. All these versions are vying to be your personal assistant and make your day-to-day life easier by connected compatible devices and operating them with your own words rather than techy key phrases.
Although these devices can be thought of as enabling lazy user behaviour, they can prove valuable in tricky situations – turning on a standard lamp with a hard-to-reach switch cord, or perhaps helping a user who struggles to see or use a touch screen device to stay in touch with loved ones. Not only does the use help those with dexterity and sight problems , but their use also removes barriers for those who are less tech able too, no fancy system or navigation menu needs to be learnt… and no technology needs to be handled at all.
This is where their potential really comes alive – imagine the impact on infection control if a caregiver does not have to physically touch a note pad or keyboard to make or check patient notes. Notes can be taken whilst the examination or procedure takes place, no need to down tools during – or to spend time in between patients to record the notes of the session.
Instead of us wittering on, we would like you to think about all the times in a day that you write a note or look up information… and now imagine how many times your GP does too! Using simple voice activated technology like an echo dot, alongside speech recognition and transcription software such as dragon, means less time recording and processing information enabling many clinicians and carers to spend more hands-on time with the people that they look after and could help to reduce the heavy load that these practitioners face day to day.
With so many users embracing voice activated technology in their own homes, the uptake of these devices within healthcare is a promising next step towards efficiency, not only of time spent on administrative tasks but also a necessary streamlining of difficult to use and clunky legacy software.