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Are voice recognition technologies like Alexa useful in medicine or are they hogwash? For now, the short answer is both.
On Monday, Microsoft said it would spend about $ 16 billion to buy Nuance Communications, which has voice transcription software used in the healthcare industry.
Microsoft as well as other tech companies like Google and Amazon have big ambitions to transform industries with artificial intelligence, including speech recognition programs and efforts to identify signs of illness. pain and illness.
The great hope of technology in medicine is that it can make us healthier and improve America’s costly and often ineffective and injustice health care system. The message I have heard from the medical experts is that there is potential, but also a lot of hot air.
The hope of medicine fetches:
For many years, doctors have used Nuance’s transcription software to speak patient notes and translate them into text for medical records. In theory, that frees the doctors from the paperwork so they can spend more time treating us.
Nuance and other healthcare and technology providers want to do more with our voices. One idea is that the microphone can record (with permission) doctor-patient interactions and record relevant details into medical files – without much human involvement. The calculator will also be smart enough to order any necessary tests and process payments.
This sounds interesting and perhaps a bit of a horror. These ideas are still under development, and it is not clear how well these medical fights will function. But Dr. Eric J. Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research and author of several books on technology in medicine, told me that speech recognition systems are one of the few applications there is. AI’s most effective in health care, at least in the Short term.
Darren Dworkin, the organization’s chief information officer, at Cedars-Sinai, a healthcare system in Southern California, is equipped with voice activation in most patient rooms. Currently, these devices are mainly used for relatively casual interactions, such as nurses requesting equipment for patients to watch videos on how to prevent dangerous falls.
Dworkin says he is most optimistic about using voice and other technologies to automate administrative tasks, such as insurance authorization for medical treatments and sending appropriate text messages. for patients.
Dworkin says that the applications of technology may not be what many consider to be the “ incredible ” factor, but that busy work is a major cost and challenge in healthcare.
“Not everything has to be modern,” Dworkin said. “Don’t let simple things pass by you.” (Another vote for the importance of boring technology!)
Where hope meets harsh reality:
Almost every technology used in healthcare – and many others – promises to reduce administrative work and costs. And yet, the cost of healthcare and the bureaucracy in the United States mainly continues to rise.
Dr. Dhruv Khullar, physician and assistant professor of health policy and economics at Weill Cornell Medicine, said he was optimistic that voice technology and artificial intelligence could ease the administrative burden and help. help the patient. But he says his hopes have yet to be supported by rigorous evidence.
“There’s not a lot of evidence at this point to suggest that AI reduces costs or improves health outcomes,” Dr. Khullar told me. (I borrowed the line “đầu medical” from him.)
I asked these health professionals an overarching question: What role should technology play in solving the root problems of American healthcare?
They largely agree that advancements in technology can help reduce costs and improve service quality in our healthcare system, but that’s not the silver bullet for the biggest problems. ours.
“I would say, that’s part of the answer but not a big part of it,” said Dr. Khullar.
(And read more from DealBook: How that Microsoft almost avoids the government’s attention on antitrust? My Answer: Microsoft’s essential technology is mostly boring. It’s a good thing.)
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Hacking technology, with long distance operators
Last week, I pointed out a great article about Indians adapting to expensive cell phone calls by finding new ways to communicate regarding mid-line hangups. One On Tech reader, Morris Fried of Somerset, NJ, wrote us about his family’s missed call communication systems decades ago:
Your notes about using missed calls to get in touch in India have stirred old memories of similar techniques in this country. (I’ll be 75 next month.)
When I was a child, we drove back home to Philadelphia after visiting my grandmother in Brooklyn. My mom would then call the operator and request a long distance person-to-person call by her own name at my grandmother’s phone number.
My grandma will answer the phone and tell the operator that my mom is not there. Therefore, my mother has succeeded in informing her that we arrived home safely without incurring a negligible cost to us for long distance calls.
Before we go …
“If you’ve always wanted your haunted Victorian in the body of a little dog that hates men and children…” I cried and laughed at this extremely detailed description of Prancer on Facebook and MANY His strange habit, posted by a New Jersey pet adoption tournament.
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