According to a study published in the Society of Interventional Radiology, smart speaker technology can now be harnessed to advance medical treatments in a hospital environment. Smart speakers, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, can be used to aid to physicians and other healthcare providers in hospital operating rooms—particularly, they can offer a conversational voice interface for interventional radiology (IR) physicians to ask questions and retrieve information needed for their patient treatments without breaking the sterile environment.
"During treatment, IRs rely on nuanced medical information delivered in a timely manner. When you're in the middle of a procedure, you need to remain sterile, so you lose the ability to use a computer," said Kevin Seals, MD, a fellow in interventional radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and lead author of the study. "This smart speaker technology helps us to quickly and intelligently make decisions relevant to a patient's specific needs."
Specifically, technological specialists at UCSF have developed an application for Google Home smart speaker technology that can process questions from a human voice and offer recommendations—such as knowing which size sheath to use to implant a stent for a patient. Smart speakers can accurately communicate information based on certain circumstances that can aid physicians in making a final decision.
"There are hundreds of devices, with more being introduced every day, making it difficult to determine the correct sizing or materials needed in every circumstance. This technology allows physicians to concentrate more closely on the care of their patients, devoting less time and mental energy to device technicalities," said Seals.