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The future is voice first

We’re all familiar with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant―you might even be using one of these voice first technologies in your personal life day to day. But have you thought about how it can be applied in health care?

On this episode of Boldly, Steve Mortimer, Vice President of Business Development at Joule speaks with sport and exercise physician, Dr. Teri Fisher, to learn about Voice First Health. Dr. Fisher explains voice first technology, how it’s used the health care system today and the possible impacts on our future.

Reminiscing about when his first computer, the first time he used a mouse and the first time he saw the iPhone—Dr. Fisher explains that we are about to experience a time in which we will be changed forever by this technology forever. This could be the largest technological shift since the Internet was first introduced.

tweetable: We are likely going to be able to use voice as another vital sign…and that is incredible.

What if your very own AI personal assistant at home could also help you better navigate the health care system or even help diagnose illness? Dr. Fisher explains it all here in this episode of Boldly.


Key takeaways

What sparked Dr. Fisher’s interest in artificial intelligence and voice first technologies?

  • It all began with photography and video editing. From there, his curiosity grew with how these technologies could be used in health care.
  • Education, health care and technology are his three passions that came together as he learned more and more about voice technology.
  • He wanted to create a resource for people that wanted to learn more about these voice technologies.

tweetable: I will go so far as to say that I believe that we are about to experience the biggest technological paradigm shift since the Internet itself―because this is going to completely disrupt everything that we do.

What is Voice First Technology about and how is it affecting society?

  • Computers are now, for the first time, adapting to us and the way we communicate.
  • Speaking is 3-4 times more efficient than typing or texting.
  • It also allows you to multi-task.


How can this technology help with some of the greatest challenges in health care today?

  • Access to care, wait times and complexity are all still issues that voice first technology can help with.
  • The right care at the right time at the right place.


How can voice first be a tour guide to those trying to navigate our health care system?

  • Everyone is trying to help―but it can be extremely difficult to navigate.
  • Patient first health care: the patient could become the leader.

tweetable: This voice assistant could essentially act as a triage nurse in the home.

As we see more consumer adoption, will the health care features in these systems be ready for prime time?

  • It’s very early at present time.
  • It’s similar to when there were functional first apps like the flashlight apps.
  • Currently, the ones that exist are relatively simple (i.e. provides information, gives reminders to take medications).
  • But more complex ones are currently being developed.


What barriers exist with integrating voice first into our current system? How can we overcome them?

  • Privacy is the biggest barrier.
  • We are going to have to be comfortable with putting our information out there.
  • What is an ethical way to use AI?

tweetable: In order to really take advantage of the technology that’s out there, we are going to have to be comfortable with putting our information out there.

What are the possibilities for voice first in the next ten years?

  • It will become a guide to the health care system.
  • We will see decentralization of the health care system.
  • Fewer unnecessary visits to health care facilities.
  • Less demand on health care facilities from patients.
  • Vocal-biomarkers.
  • These devices are going to serve as diagnostic devices in our home.

tweetable: Let’s bring the health home and let the patient actually lead their care by interacting with this technology that we now have available.

To get more insights from Dr. Teri Fischer, follow him on Twitter or listen to his podcast Voice First Health.


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The opinions stated by podcast participants are made in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule. Joule does not endorse any views, product, service, association, company or industry mentioned in this podcast.