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Voice Assistants and Medical Chatbots in Healthcare

Product Code:
Publication Date:
September 2018

Voice activated technology: What are the potential benefits for pharma?

The use of voice-controlled assistants (VCAs) such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are familiar to many of us in our daily lives. But how might conversational interface technology be used to resolve some of the core issues facing pharma? VCAs offer potential across the spectrum of current challenges, from clinical trials and HCP support to patient engagement, adherence and real world evidence data collection. The possibilities are vast—but first pharma needs to build understanding of this evolving technology and scope the potential applications.

During August 2018, we conducted in-depth interviews with 4 of the world's leading voice-activated technology experts. This report provides their up-to-the-minute assessment of how voice assistants and chatbots can be best used in the healthcare sector.

  • The current landscape: Who is already exploring VCAs and chatbots within healthcare and how are they utilising the technology? How mature are these developments now?
  • Blue sky thinking: What potential applications should pharma consider? What new opportunities and benefits might be expected?
  • The fear factor: What concerns do patients, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical decision-makers have and how could they be overcome? What are key issues to address?
  • The business case: What are the most compelling commercial arguments for including voice activated technology in long-term investment and development plans?

What to expect from this report

There is a growing need in the pharmaceutical industry to explore the possibilities offered by voice activated software—but knowing where to start is problematic. This kind of new technology is out of the pharma 'comfort zone'. So this report gets you up-to-speed on progress so far and provides a framework for how VCAs and chatbots could feature in your long-term plans. Now you can see what the future might look like.

How did we do it?

  • We identified 8 current issues at the heart of the 'conversational interface in healthcare' debate
  • We explored these via an average of 14 targeted questions put to each expert
  • Their responses provided 36 unique new insights
  • Insights are supported by 63 directly quoted comments and 68 cited sources

Example insight included in Voice Assistants and Medical Chatbots in Healthcare: What the Future Holds for Pharma

There is a commercially inclined motivation to integrate VCA and chatbot technology into healthcare. The technology is interactive, so companies are presented with huge potential to effectively engage with customers. Pharma has the opportunity to utilise this technology to meet the expectations of customers on digital experiences, as well as widen the net of customer reach. In addition, the ability of voice assistants to share medical information with physicians, which can impact their diagnostic and treatment decisions, reveals an opportunity for pharma to boost non-personal brand promotion and influence prescription levels

Example quote included in Voice Assistants and Medical Chatbots in Healthcare: What the Future Holds for Pharma

"The biggest impact will be on clinical trials and on prescription adherence and information. Clinical trials are incredibly expensive. Hopefully this technology will increase developmental speed and decrease costs."

The expert panel for Voice Assistants and Medical Chatbots in Healthcare: What the Future Holds for Pharma

  • Sara Cecchini is a marketing and sales professional with almost two decades of experience in sales and more than 10 years' experience in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. She is currently the Go-to-Market Manager and Chatbot Developer for ZEISS in San Diego, where she designed and developed internal and business-to-consumer chatbots for ZEISS North America.
  • Omar Fogliadini is a Managing Partner at LIFEdata, a Swiss-based company focused on creating end-to-end AI solutions to enable enterprises to deliver a new level of customer experience by connecting their employees and their customers with relevant data in real time via the Internet of Things. He has over a decade of experience in Business Transformation, Chatbots, AI and data-driven solutions combining Marketing and Technology. His expertise in these areas has been applied to the business functions of mobile engagement, smart collaboration and digital workplace, workforce management, digital health and therapeutics, and personalised nutrition. He also currently serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at Suisse Life Science, a biological big data analytics company in Lugano, Switzerland, and as a Principal Consultant for Deepmind Ventures in Malta, a blockchain consultancy boutique.
  • Nick Genatone is an Enterprise Technology leader, focused on providing life science enterprises around the world with conversational AI solutions. Genatone has accrued significant executive sales experience, currently serving as the VP of Sales at Verint in Spokane, Washington. He specialises in business development and software sales, natural language processing, chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants, healthcare technology, and cognitive technologies. He has provided solutions for a variety of companies in the global pharmaceutical and life science industry in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
  • Saujanya Sunkarwar is a software engineer at Syntel Ltd in India, where she currently works as a chatbot developer. Among her many skills, Sunkarwar has worked on a software project to create and analyse master data for vendor and customer accounts as a data analyst. She has domain knowledge in healthcare, life sciences and insurance. Sunkarwar has also worked as an associate consultant, developing chatbots for clients in the abovementioned domains using channels such as Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Skype and web app bots. She has a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering with a Post-Graduation Diploma in Wireless and Mobile Computing.

Why buy now?

Pharma is under constant pressure to be more agile and responsive to changing consumer needs in order to remain current and competitive—and this presents a golden opportunity to do so. Technology can facilitate widespread two-way conversations across the healthcare sector in all the key areas pharma is currently wrestling with, including patient and HCP engagement, data collection and adherence. Dismiss VCAs and chatbots as the latest gimmick at your peril: they're potentially the most exciting solution on the horizon today.

Why choose FirstWord FutureViews reports?

FirstWord's FutureViews reports analyse in detail significant emerging technology and market trends that pharma executives need to understand if they are to manage the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. These concise and highly focused reports:

  • Are based on primary research with experts whose knowledge and current experience is proven
  • Present clear expert insights free from secondary source information and spurious observations
  • Include only latest research and content–we don't reuse or recycle content


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