The Health Information Management Systems Society, HIMSS, has been publishing tidbits for over a year now regarding how “connected home assistants” like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant are making their way into the healthcare space.
One year ago, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released estimates that reported the number of “smart speakers” installed in the U.S. reached 66.7 million by the end of 2017 and grew by 78%, rising to 118.5 million units installed by the end of 2018 across 28% of the 128 million households in the U.S. Projections are that 75% of households will have a smart speaker installed by 2025.
The apps that drive this technology are installed on smart phones and tablets. Nearly 266 million people in the U.S. have a smart phone and that’s expected to grow to 285 million by 2023.
Couple the large-scale availability of the technology with cloud solutions setting a new paradigm with privacy and security and the expansion of these services into the healthcare sector seems to be a natural migration.
Imagine your iPhone or Android phone vibrating at 6:00PM with a reminder for you to take your medication. Or, consider being able to say “Siri! Add an appointment in my calendar for 8:00AM on October 12 for my physical exam with Dr. Smith.” and then automatically receiving an alert on your phone one week prior to that reminding you to get your bloodwork done.
As for the technology making its way into substance abuse treatment, we’re not quite there yet, but the study referenced in this Technology Networks article indicates that the future could be promising. One could imagine the usefulness of this technology not only for getting at-risk people help at the moment they need it, but also keeping patients in treatment engaged with their treatment and their treatment provider.