NHS: Smart speakers to analyze patient conversations for suicide risk

By Folake Dosu  |  March 3, 2019

IoT-voice-NHS

NHS plans to use smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to analyze patient conversations for signs of suicidal thoughts, Telegraph reports.

A recent report led by US academic Eric Topol explored the potential of technology to transform the NHS, specifically naming robots and artificial intelligence. It also described London’s plans to incorporate AI into its mental health services, the outlet reports.

“Triage bots” would hold conversations with mental health patients and spot warning signs. The outlet adds that Facebook has been using technology to screen posts for suicidal thoughts since 2017.

The report found that 90 percent of all NHS jobs would require digital skills within 20 years.

Wounded patients, for example, as well as patients seeking treatment for anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, could benefit from the use of virtual reality. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence can help read scans for mammograms, eye scans, and pathology slides, saving time and boosting diagnosis accuracy, according to the report. 

"These developments will change patients lives, change how clinicians work and change how healthcare services are delivered. This is happening now and the NHS is ideally placed to take it further, faster and wider if we act to give our staff the skills and knowledge they need to make them the norm across the NHS."

"Over the next 20 years, three changes will inevitably happen," said Topol in the report. "More and more people will have their genome sequenced; patients will generate and interpret much more of their own health data at home; and the speed, accuracy and scalability of medical data interpretation from artificial intelligence will grow exponentially.

"These developments will change patients lives, change how clinicians work and change how healthcare services are delivered. This is happening now and the NHS is ideally placed to take it further, faster and wider if we act to give our staff the skills and knowledge they need to make them the norm across the NHS."

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