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Virtual Assistants Move Into Health Sphere

by Melissa Bailey

STAT

Article excerpt

Alexa, pull those lab results': A hospital tries out virtual assistants

Picture this: At every step of a patient’s trip through the hospital, a virtual assistant awaits, ready to answer questions, pull up medical records — or snap photos during surgery. Hospital staff and patients walked through that futuristic hospital scenario one recent afternoon at a new simulation center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Our take

OurVirtual Assistants: Coming to a Hospital Near You?

From playing your favorite music, to pulling up hospital records and even taking photos during surgeries, virtual assistants like Alexa are being evaluated for potential applications in healthcare settings. How could devices like this help your hospital to improve care and, potentially, reduce costs?

As for-profit technology companies like Amazon, Google and others continue to dabble in healthcare-related innovation, disruptive technologies are becoming increasingly common. Alexa, designed for consumer use, is quickly gaining traction and generating interest in other circles. Interoperability issues still loom, but these technologies hold promise for increasing efficiencies and cutting costs in healthcare service delivery.

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