• 03-12-2021

  • 3 min read

  • Anna Prist

How Voice Technology and Wearable Devices Revolutionize Personal Wellness

Wearables of all sorts are being used for lifestyle, health management, and monitoring. Learn how modern use cases promote a positive and responsible attitude towards health, a healthy lifestyle, and the renunciation of bad and unhealthy habits.

Fitness and other types of wearables become an early detection system for communities in future pandemics

Wearables of all sorts are being used for lifestyle and health management and monitoring. And since, according to Berg Insight by 2023, 239 million wearable healthcare devices will have shipped, we can expect this trend to grow. With all the conversational apps being developed to detect coronavirus, companies producing wearables are eager to pre-install or even create their bespoke virtual test systems. Even when the pandemic is over, users will look for Covid-19 symptoms detection of some sort. Also, the pandemic experience teaches users (and technology providers accordingly) to closely look for any peculiarities or irregularities in their condition. An AI-powered conversational health app can easily detect those, alert users and their caregivers or even physicians if necessary. In their turn, AI-powered systems for healthcare workers can easily recognize a pattern — when they handle multiple requests with similar symptoms.

Custom virtual assistants, healthcare tracking apps, and voice skills reimagined

According to Julia Hu of Lark, “by 2020, about 157 million Americans — nearly half of the US population — will be managing a chronic disease, with 81 million people managing more than one”. So for some people, virtually-assisted medical consultation is the only way to ensure their condition is being taken care of. Gradually, medical apps and healthcare companies will get custom virtual assistants to simplify website and app navigation. 

Reminders are crucial when a person is on medication, so Amazon introduced a new Alexa skill that automatically reminds users to take their medication and enables them to refill prescriptions using just their voice. This function is used exceedingly by medical institutions as well — both for the patient and medical staff. 

Doctor-patient communication has shifted online over the past few months. Even after the pandemic some of it will remain virtual, so the technologies improving communication between patients and hospital staff will be in demand. An example to illustrate that: healthcare-focused voice AI developer Orbita, the one behind the virtual health assistant OrbitaAssist, acquired Amazon Alexa skill from Deloitte to help patients better communicate with hospital staff. 

Also, more robotic healthcare devices appear — that cater not only to the need of patients, but also those of caregivers. Some people are trapped in their houses with no opportunities to take care of their elderly relatives, so, robotic companions can really save the day here. There are many great examples already: Pillo Health and Stanley Black & Decker have launched a voice-activated robotic companion for the commercial market. The robotic assistant named Pria can help patients with chronic conditions stick to their medication schedules and inform caretakers on the progress.

The future of wearables in healthcare

Wearables are rapidly evolving from fitness trackers and smartwatches to much more sophisticated ones: there are t-shirts like the one AI company Chronolife produces, which can measure heartbeat with an electrocardiogram, abdominal breathing, thoracic breathing, body temperature, physical activity, and pulmonary independence. With such wearables, patients with a chronic disease that require constant health monitoring could stay at home with their families instead of hospitals.

In 2019 Amazon, Apple, and Google introduced an array of voice-powered wearables. Google has also announced it was acquiring FitBit — so it’s only a matter of time until the tech giants start offering healthcare-related services. Voice-powered wearables can be of great assistance not only to patients but to hospital staff: from transcribing patient information to helping diagnose a condition, to prevent physicians from burnout.

Healthcare tech is changing rapidly due to the pandemic

Telemedicine is already experiencing a major boost in adopting conversational AI, with many tech companies offering conversational solutions to fight the new coronavirus. Just AI, for example, released an intelligent virtual assistant for government institutions that can share information and answer questions about the coronavirus. Voicify is working with state governments to build coronavirus-focused voice apps. Microsoft offers a chatbot to help healthcare providers triage patients. Quite naturally, the pandemic is catalyzing the demand for remote mental health tools like apps and chatbots, while text-a-therapist platforms report an influx of users looking for help. Some of those services are going to stick and, after the pandemic is over, healthcare companies spin-off new business units.

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