Can Medical Alexa Make Us Healthy?

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Are voice recognition techniques like Alexa helpful in therapy or are they hogwash? For now, the short answer is a little of both.

Microsoft said on Monday that it would spend about $ 16 billion Buy nuance communication, Whose speech transcription software is Used in health care.

Microsoft as well as other technology companies such as Google and Amazon have huge ambitions in the industry to make changes with artificial intelligence technologies, including voice recognition programs and software. Attempt to identify signs of illness and disease.

There is great hope of technology in medicine that it can help make us healthier and improve America’s expensive and often ineffective and unjust care system. The message I heard from medical experts is that there is potential, but also very hot air.

Medical Alexa Expected:

Over the years, doctors have used Nuance’s transcription software to speak notes about patients and convert them into text for medical records. In theory, this frees doctors from doing paperwork so that they can spend more time in our treatment.

Nuance and other technology and health care providers Want a lot to do with our voices. One idea is that microphones can record conversations (with permission) between physicians and patients and record related files in medical files – without any human involvement. Computers will be smart enough to order any necessary tests and handle billing.

It sounds quiet and maybe a little scary. These ideas are still ongoing, and it is unclear how well this medical Alexa will work. but Dr. Eric J. Topol, A professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research and author of Many books on technology in medicine, Told me that the voice recognition system is one of the most consequential uses of artificial intelligence in healthcare, at least in the short term.

In Cedars-Sinai, a health system in Southern California, most hospital rooms are said to have been designed with voice activated equipment. Darren DwaertinChief Information Officer of the organization. For now, the devices are mostly used for relatively mundane interactions, such as a nurse asking a device to show a video to a patient on stopping dangerous falls.

Dworkin said he was most optimistic about using voice and other technologies to automate administrative tasks, such as authorizing insurance for medical treatment and sending tailored text messages to patients.

Dworkin said those uses of technology may not be considered by many to be a wow factor, but the busyness of health care was a major cost and challenge.

“Not everything is a state of the art,” Dworkin said. “Do not let ordinary stuff go by you.” (One more vote for Importance of boring technique()

Where Hope Meets Rigid Reality:

Just about every technology used in healthcare – and in many other fields – promises to reduce administrative work and costs. And yet, health care spending and bureaucracy in the United States mostly continue to go up.

Dr. Dhruv Khullar, A physician and assistant professor of health policy and economics at Well cornell medicineStated that he was optimistic that voice tech and artificial intelligence could reduce administrative burden and help patients. But he said his hopes were not yet supported by hard evidence.

“There is not a lot of evidence at this point that AI reduces costs or improves health outcomes,” Dr. Khullar told me. (I borrowed the “Medical Alexa” line from them.)

I asked these health experts a broader question: What role should technology play in dealing with the core problems of American health care?

They largely agreed that advances in technology could help reduce costs and improve service quality in our health care system, but this was not the silver bullet for our biggest problems.

Dr. “I would say it’s part of the answer, but not a big part of it,” Khullar said.

(And read more from the dealbook: How Microsoft has avoided most government anti-attentionThe My answer: Microsoft’s essential technology is mostly sluggish. It is a good thing.)

Your lead

Last week, I pointed to a terrible Article Coming up with new ways about making expensive mobile phone calls about Indians to communicate that involves hanging the mid-ring. Morris Fried of Somerset, NJ, an On Tech reader, wrote to us about his family’s missed call communication system decades ago:

Your note about using missed calls for communication in India evoked nostalgia of the same technology in this country. (I’ll be 75 next month.)

When I was a child, we returned to the Philadelphia home after visiting my grandmother in Brooklyn. My mother then called the operator and requested a person-to-long-distance name on my grandmother’s phone number.

My grandmother answered the phone and told the operator that my mother was not there. My mother succeeded in informing her mother that we had arrived home safely for a long distance telephone call without the then unimportant expense.

“If you always want your own haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog who hates men and children …” This is a very detailed description of life Posted by the Pet Adoption League of New Jersey, on Facebook and its MANY peculiar habits.

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