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How Voice Automation Could Help Relieve Pressure on Healthcare

spitch news the journal of mhealth.jpgOnce the realm of science fiction, voice technology is now woven into the fabric of everyday life. Around 1 in 5 households in the UK own some form of smart speaker, engaging with businesses like Amazon and Google with words rather than clicks.

As voice technology becomes a permanent fixture of our homes, consumers are now more comfortable with using it to manage every aspect of their lives, from ordering food to booking appointments, and even checking their bank balances. So, what if that same level of convenience and instant service could be applied to healthcare?

With COVID-19 currently stretching the resources of healthcare organisations around the world, automated ‘telehealth’ is attracting a lot of attention. The positive impact of voice automation has been well documented before the pandemic. In fact, this 2017 case study found a correlation between voice-activated tech and improved clinical outcomes for heart failure patients.

The applications of voice technology in healthcare are almost limitless. With mounting evidence suggesting it could be an integral part of a patient’s care programme, here are some examples of how voice technology could be used in healthcare.

Voice automation reducing administrative burden

When routine services eventually return to pre-pandemic levels, there will be a significant backlog of appointments that need to be scheduled in. By applying natural language processing and call steering to the appointment booking system, hospitals could free up resource for receptionists and allow patients to choose, book or reschedule visits, reducing costly DNAs (Did Not Attends).

Remote Healthcare

With COVID forcing many non-essential appointments to be cancelled or postponed, one of the biggest applications of voice automation is in remote healthcare. Voice technology could be programmed so that it works in tandem with those voice assistants that patients recognise at home. This can help to remind doctors about patient needs and also be used as a way to help patients to engage with their self-care programmes.


One remarkable way that voice technology could be deployed is to aid doctors with their diagnoses. Voice technology and machine learning can be programmed to learn and detect changes in patients voices that are associated with certain conditions such as Parkinson’s. It is much more accurate than a human ear and can also potentially diagnose conditions before symptoms occur.

By implementing voice technology into healthcare, what kind of benefits can providers expect to see?

Patient empowerment

By giving patients the ability to be a part of their own care, healthcare providers empower them to maintain a better healthcare regime. The use of voice technology as part of a more holistic view of healthcare means that patients are able to engage with their healthcare and improve the results of the care itself.

Fast diagnostics means better resource allocation

Using voice technology to diagnose diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and depression can help clinicians treat those diseases more effectively. A well programmed voice technology solution gives quick, accurate and efficient diagnosis, and improves the effectiveness of treatments without the need for a large outlay of resources.

Reduced workload for doctors

By giving patients the tools they need to be able to manage their own care, enhancing diagnosis and advancing digitisation in healthcare, the workload on doctors is reduced. This means that they are able to treat patients more effectively, especially when patient numbers are high, and the pressure is on.

Voice technology is an effective way to enact a more holistic healthcare strategy that integrates technology alongside patient empowerment. This allows providers to increase the quality of the care they provide whilst also reducing their unnecessary costs.