- Posted by Mike Wiseman
- On September 15, 2016
Next IT Healthcare was honored to receive the ‘Most Valuable Healthcare Initiative’ award from Eye4Pharma last spring. We were thrilled when we read some of the feedback on our technology, including my personal favorite “better than Siri” by Thomas Disley, Global Director of Research at Eye4Pharma.
Siri has become a household name since Apple introduced her as a standalone app in 2010. Name dropping Siri saves me a lot of time when explaining what we do here at Next IT Corporation. We love what Siri has done from an awareness standpoint for AI solutions, so I must pay my respects to Siri but I’d also like to explain some of the key differentiators between the two platforms.
We love Siri
Siri was like something straight out of a science fiction movie. Those with iPhones loved the update, and many on other devices switched to an iPhone so they could wake up in the morning and ask Siri “what’s the weather going to be like today?” Siri was the first of her kind to be accessible to the general public. This introduction to a conversational interface shifted how people interact with technology in a revolutionary way.
Siri’s purpose is to act as a virtual personal assistant for her users. She is doing exactly what Apple envisioned and she is doing it well. Since Siri, the market for this type of technology continues to grow. Major players are investing to create these types of experiences for their customers (Microsoft, Google, Amazon).
Next IT Healthcare’s Alme platform has similar but different goals when it comes to delivering digital health coaches for patient engagement. Our mission is to help healthcare organizations improve the patient’s journey. Built using artificial intelligence (AI) technology and natural language processing (NLP), our digital health coaches enable a comprehensive ecosystem of personalized assistance and resources to help patients achieve better health outcomes.
Here is the breakdown on the differences between our technology and Siri:
General vs. deep domain
Siri is a general database focused on being a personal assistant for your iOS device. She can handle a broad range of topics and has the ability to hand you off to another application or the web depending on your query. Think traffic cop – they are there to facilitate traffic, not tell you how to get to work. Our digital health coaches on the other hand, contain deep domain knowledge specific to a disease – like an expert. In addition to knowing your medication regimen, our digital health coaches answer questions about the medicine, disease state, etc. Our first-class integration ability allows the brain to pull information in from exterior applications and answer users within the same app.
Talk vs. multi-modal
98% of iPhone users have tried Siri, but do not use her regularly. Talking to technology in public isn’t comfortable for people just yet. Our solution to this is to offer more ways to interact. For this reason, our platform is modal-agnostic.
With our technology solution, users can choose to talk, type or tap across any device. The user chooses how they’d like to interact. This is extremely important as it relates to sensitive healthcare information. If you need to ask a question regarding your prescription medication and taking a new dietary supplement in the middle of aisle 8 – privacy is preferable and there HAS to be options.
Healthcare comes with major risks
Siri is amazing when she does a task for you. Her limitations are merely inconveniences that we hope someday she will be able to do. If the context is incorrect and she carries out a task there are no life-threatening consequences.
We cannot get healthcare information kind of right. Our digital health coaches deal with adverse events for medications. Some situations just require a doctor visit but others will signal a call to call centers or in the worst case, 911. If we do not know something, NLP allows us to ask clarifying questions to better understand the intent. If the digital coach still cannot understand, the user is left with an intelligent I don’t know (IDK). Through refinement, our digital health coaches get smarter and smarter and we are constantly increasing their knowledge base – some directly in response to the IDKs.
Siri has a product roadmap – they will get to the functionality when they get there. It is not dictated by our health, although there are popular asks they can provide for us if they choose.
What you will see from Next IT Healthcare in the future
Our focus is patient engagement, driving adherence and behavior change. For these reasons, we will continue to integrate into patients’ lives. We are driving specific outcomes relevant to the improvement of life. Things you can expect to see from Next IT Healthcare in the future are more proactive engagement, more third-party integration, and eventually virtual agent to virtual agent communication.
We continue to better understand users’ actions through our interactions with them and provide the appropriate intervention or behavior change theory to each individual. By knowing our users well, we can provide the best experience, specifically tailored to them, across thousands of users. Our technology is extremely scalable.
We are striving to make a real difference in healthcare, and we are on the right track! We have been delivering AI solutions since 2002, and have been recognized and awarded by industry leaders like Eye4Pharma, Frost & Sullivan, Fierce Innovation and Opus Research.
So we are better than Siri for healthcare, which is our focus.