What it is: With the rising cost for health care, virtual assistants can help save money.
Health care is expensive because it relies on people. Imagine how expensive books would be if instead of relying on printing presses, we had to rely on scriveners who manually copied books word by word?
So to reduce the cost of health care, many companies are looking at virtual assistants. The goal is to let virtual assistants handle common cases and then let specialists handle specific cases if the virtual assistant can’t answer a person’s questions.
Already virtual assistants answer phone calls and route your call to the proper person after trying to help you robotically. So using virtual assistants makes sense in health care as a way to lower costs and provide basic health care to people at the same time.
This brings up an interesting question. The main benefit of the Apple Watch and other wearable computers is to offer real-time health monitoring. Perhaps the benefit of virtual assistants controlled solely by voice (such as Siri on HomePod) could be answering common questions.
Right now, people use smart speakers for asking questions about the weather or traffic, but that’s not necessarily a crucial task. That explains why many people often use a smart speaker initially then get bored and leave it alone without ever using it again.
So virtual health assistants offer the potential of giving smart speakers a definite purpose, targeting people with health issues. At the very least, a smart speaker could act like an emergency device for senior citizens. If someone falls and can’t reach a phone, they can call the smart speaker for help.
Right now, smart speakers are an interesting concept but generally little practical value. By focusing on niches like health care, smart speakers could become more useful to people who regularly need to chat with doctors.
The smart speaker market currently lacks a compelling need. What problem does it solve that makes it worth buying and using? Virtual health assistants offer one way to make smart speakers useful. Another might be foreign language training by letting you practice talking to a smart speaker before you risk looking foolish trying to talk to a native speaker in another country.
The smart speaker market needs virtual assistants in the health field (or any field) to become more popular and commonplace. Voice-controlled interfaces are a growing field and as virtual assistants like Siri gain more knowledge about medical conditions and health problems, they can be more useful for that particular health-oriented market.