Results of a National Physician Survey: Smart Speakers Already in Use in the Clinic


From February to April 2018, Boston Children’s Hospital, with the support of MedPanel and Novartis, conducted an online survey of 113 pediatricians across the U.S. on their use of voice technology. The goal of the survey was to evaluate current adoption of voice technology by physicians - both in their everyday lives, and in the clinical setting. While the complete survey has yet to be published, a few of the highlights are provided below in advance of full publication.


Our Thoughts

We were pleasantly surprised to see so much adoption of this relatively new technology. Other reports have asserted that healthcare may be one of the most natural first industries for the adoption of voice technology, which seems to be to supported by these findings.

We were also encouraged that the overwhelming majority of physicians were not closed off to trying a smart speaker in a clinical setting. However, unsurprisingly, physicians have serious concerns about the technology: mainly, is the technology HIPAA compliant? How would it fit into their workflow? Would it save more time than it takes to use? These are concerns that developers of voice-based solutions should keep in mind as they are building and marketing their technologies.

Next steps: IT departments need to think about implementations of voice technology - and assume that some docs might already be bringing their own smart speaker technology with them. Will we see “BYOD” (bring-your-own-device) policies from hospitals in a similar manner to smartphones? We encourage hospital IT departments to be as flexible as they can in their guardrails on the use of this technology, while also recognizing that there are currently no HIPAA-compliant smart speakers from the large technology vendors available on the market.

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