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Alexa, Can I Trust You With My Health?

September 3, 2018 | Digital
Woman asking Google Home for health care advice

What healthcare organizations can do to immediately support artificial intelligence.

As a digital dad, I clearly love the instant gratification, accessibility and automated control that both of my artificially intelligent friends, Alexa and Siri provide on a daily basis. But even I draw the line when it comes to bigger questions that involve deeper conversations or advice. Recently, I decided to ask, “Hey Siri, which hospital should we have our baby delivered?” The response was less than helpful.

According  to a recent report from The Information, only about 2% of people with devices that use Amazon’s Alexa intelligent assistant — mostly Amazon’s own Echo line of speakers — have made a purchase with their voices so far in 2018. Is that because of unfamiliarity, complexity, impatience, or more? If we aren’t engaging with AI at a high-level for common retail purchases, what will it take for this to change, and what can hospitals do to support it?

Internally, hospitals like Massachusetts General and Boston Children’s have been busy experimenting with ways to use Alexa to help surgeons in the operating room comply with a safety checklist before procedures. Several companies and other hospitals have looked to leverage the technology to disrupt systematic, operational or external challenges knowing the tremendous opportunity at hand. But what’s the comfort level with accessing medical records and refilling prescriptions? Or even establishing a trustworthy, voice activated line of communication with our hospital providers?

While we are making tremendous progress, major adoption has been slow. So what can organizations do to immediately bridge the gap? Think about Voice Search or Voice Engine Optimization. For starters, make sure all content on your website is incredibly search friendly and accessible, including questions and answers in FAQ formats. Additionally, making sure your business listings are optimized and accurate is key, as most voice assistants rely heavily on web data including Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Yelp to curate results and inform responses. Then, consider a persona search strategy that is aligned with user business goals to include common phrases, and test those options. Lastly, boost the awareness of the access option in social media messaging, and measure the performance.

There are platforms currently available to help your organization address this such as Nimblr and Klara. Both are positioned to cut through the noise and make the patient experience a bit more delightful.

As virtual healthcare continues to disrupt the urgent care model, this could be a prime opportunity to incorporate, or reinforce this funnel. So, when I command Siri or Alexa to, “please schedule an appointment for Brandon Scott using {insert your organization’s name here} Express Care Online,”  I will have the confidence that my BVFF (Best Virtual Friend Forever), will quickly connect me to the health expertise and personal care that I trust. Until then…

Written by Brandon Scott

For the past ten years, Brandon has put his skills to use building immersive and engaging digital experiences for client’s brands. A true student of the game, he keeps tabs on the latest trends, understanding how to best integrate cross-platform engagements and knowing how to create brand experiences that resonate with audiences.

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