Back in June, I wrote an update about an a16z podcast interview with Dr. Eric Topol. Dr. Topol is a longtime cardiologist and the chair of innovative medicine at Scripps Research. He’s been practicing medicine for 40 years and seems to be regarded in the medical community as one of the most forward-thinking, open-minded doctors. His work focuses on genomics, big data, and the underlying technologies enabling personalized medicine. He’s published 1,100 peer reviewed articles, has more than 200,000 citations to his credit, and is among the top ten most cited researchers in medicine.
Today, I got a notification that Matt Cybulsky’s Voice of Healthcare podcast had a new episode out and I was excited to see the guest was Dr. Topol (what a huge guest to land!). This episode does a really good job of building on what Dr. Topol spoke about with a16z’s Vijay Pande, and really hones in on Dr. Topol’s view of how voice-specific applications will shape the healthcare industry as voice technology continue to migrate into the medical setting and it’s impact grows.
One of the topics Matt and Eric spoke about that resonated with me was the idea that our medical professionals today are stretched too thin on time and as a result, they’re not able to spend the type of time that’s beneficial to the patient and the physician. They’re too burdened with clerical work and drowning in administrative tasks. For the patient, this means less one-on-one time with the doctor, which is obviously a bad thing. But as Dr. Topol mentioned, we’re seeing historic highs among doctors of burn out, clinical depression and suicide, which he believes to be a result of the fact that doctors are too detached from what motivated them to get into medicine in the first place. It was not to do endless amounts of administrative work, it was to help people, and Dr. Topol believes that if we can unburden the doctors and free up their time to get back to spending it with patients, it will help to solve what’s happening.
With the rising accuracy of voice dictation and natural language processing, we’re moving closer and closer to a point where offloading certain drudge work, like note taking can be done through voice dictation. To me, it’s becoming increasingly clear that some of the most impactful early applications of voice technology in the medical setting will be to aid the professional in reducing and offloading clerical work.
Another topic discussed that piqued my interest was the idea of virtual coaching. I think this will be a major use case with hearables as time goes on, where patients with chronic conditions can communicate to their virtual coach about their diet, sleeping patterns, stress levels, and other activities. Some of this might be communicated through sensor data, while other parts might be images posted to a companion app, or even through conversations with the assistant. As Eric mentioned, this would be a huge boon for folks with diseases such as diabetes who might struggle managing their glucose levels, and can be aided by a virtual coach to help better educate them on what’s working for them based on all the data the coach (or voice assistant) has to work with.
If you’re working in or around either the voice space or in some type of medical profession, you should check the episode out. If you’re interested, subscribe and listen to The Voice of Healthcare Podcast @ http://bit.ly/VoiceHealthcare and you can read the full transcript of this interview here: http://bit.ly/DrEricTopolVoiceofHealthcare
-Thanks for Reading-