Can health care make voice interfaces viable?

One of the big surprises in my career, watching technology develop, has been the failure of voice interfaces. Chalk it up to accents and the complexity of English. Listen to a Southerner or a Scotsman and the problem becomes obvious. Better yet try listening to your kids.

The only way to make it work is to make it work. And thanks to the immense growth in military medicine, you have a platform on which this forcing can happen.

Nuance Communications says its Dragon NaturallySpeaking is now being used by over 6,000 clinicians, because it was mandated by the military as the preferred way to document care with its AHLTA system.Whatever you think of AHLTA or the military, the bottom line is you now have a complete voice-to-text interface for medical diagnosis, with 6,000 users and growing.

AHLTA consultants say the system is saving clinicians time, and enabling the creation of more complete medical records.

Nuance has now begun the process of transferring this experience into civilian medicine, which I hope means that interfaces for McKesson, Cerner and Microsoft are coming soon.Once we have a beachhead for spoken interfaces in medicine, perhaps we can expand it into other areas, and speech will finally take its rightful space as the right way to talk to a computer.

read more | digg story


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