Voice will be the interface to everything.
Searching “voice technology” on Google News produces headlines like “Why voice technology is a marketer’s new best friend,” “Voice technology will change your relationship with consumers,” “Kayak sees potential with voice technology-assisted bookings,” and “Google goes all in on voice first with its latest product.”
The Mayo Clinic has a reputation for experimenting early with new and emerging technologies, both in medicine and in delivering information to and engaging with patients and healthcare consumers. Mayo dove into social media when most hospitals and other healthcare organizations were avoiding it over fears about regulatory compliance and patient privacy. So many hospital communicators got in touch with Mayo to learn about its social media activities that it established the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network to support the industry’s use of social media.
It’s no surprise, then, that the Mayo Clinic has been an early adopter of smart audio, the voice technology that underlies the Amazon Alexa platform, Google Home, and other Artificial Intelligence-based systems that enable appliances like speakers to interact with people through natural language. Mayo first entered the space with its Mayo Clinic Radio News Minute, available for Alexa users to add to their Flash Briefing. Now, the Clinic has introduced an Alexa First Aid skill, which “provides you with self-care instructions for dozens of everyday mishaps and other situations and provides quick, hands-free answers from a trusted source.”
In this FIR Interview, Shel Holtz talks with Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, the Mayo Clinic’s chief medical editor and associate medical director for Content Management and Delivery, and Jay Maxwell, senior director of Health Information, about the development of the skill, how it works, how they measure its effectiveness, and their approach toward preparing for a voice-enabled world. The interview includes a brief demonstration of the Clinic’s Alexa skill.
About our conversation partners
Dr. Sandhya Pruthi received her M.D. degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1990, and completed a Family Medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in 1994. She was the Director of the Breast Diagnostic Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN from January 2002 to July 2010. She is a Consultant in the Department of General Internal Medicine and a Professor of Medicine. Dr. Pruthi’s research area is in breast cancer prevention. Her clinical expertise is the management of women at increased risk for breast cancer and providing pre-operative counseling to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She is the Mayo Clinic principal investigator on several national breast cancer prevention and biomarker trials aimed at reducing the risk of breast cancer. She has collaborated in other women’s health trials studying complementary and alternative therapies for the management of menopausal symptoms and improving the quality of life of breast cancer survivors. Dr. Pruthi is the Chief Medical Editor and Associate Medical Director for Content Management and Delivery for Global Business Solutions. She is an Associate Medical Director for Development and physician partner in the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Pruthi is a board member of the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC).
In his role as senior director of health information, Jay Maxwell oversees content development for Mayo Clinic’s Global Business Solutions. Jay has nearly three decades of publishing experience in web, mobile, print and broadcast channels. He has led large and diverse teams in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. As a journalist, Jay has served on a state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and has been a recipient of SPJ’s Sigma Delta Chi Award. Connect with Jay on Twitter at @johnjaymaxwell.
About our sponsor
Thanks to Ragan Awards for sponsoring this episode. Use the code INTERVIEWS to save 25% on the following:
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