Diane Zuckerman

Hypervoice in Healthcare: Engaging patients & reducing diagnostic errors

Web RTC and VoIP are about delivery mechanism of voice, not the content itself.

In healthcare, the content of coversations between doctor and patient are incredibly important. I am spending nights thinking about how Hypervoice can enhance better health and overall care, and I’m sure there are 100 ways I can’t yet even imagine.

One of my initial goals, regarding my passion for reducing diagnostic errors, is to better engage patients to actively participate in the diagnosis process (by linking what they say to what they do) – more efficiently, effectively and securely. When patients are allowed only 12 seconds to speak, it is disrespectful, annoying and can lead to a ‘rush to diagnosis’ by not considering other diagnostic possibilities. With a lack of complete information, potential diagnostic errors are much greater. By using Hypervoice to encourage conversations to be captured, structured and made easily searchable for reflection and reminders, it is possible to promote engagement and participation if empathy is more generously availed.

Clinicians iterate their desire for the patient to prepare in advance of a visit; a potential use case I see with Hypervoice is for patients to tell their story and engage in a facilitated conversation that has been recorded and structured so they have a ‘head start’ when the visit begins. Hypervoice has the opportunity to play a significant role by providing the complete and powerful patient history that can be recorded, searched and reflected upon in less time than listening to a patient who may ramble on, be confused at the time or simply not well prepared.

The Association of American Medical College estimates that the United States faces a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians by 2020 - a number that will grow to more than 130,000 by 2025. This trend it ubiquitous throughout the world. Therefore, we need to think about task shifting. Task shifting can go to non-doctors and to the patient.

I am a huge supporter of patients (if they are stable adults) being the executives of their own care. They give the ultimate "go" or "no go" - but they need the right knowledge to make good decisions. We can help patients and empower them to become better Narrative Creators (1). I think we can do that by facilitating conversations and using Hypervoice as an enabler.

Hypervoice is certainly not the only answer, but it’s the beginning in recognizing a  challenge and a potential solution to improve patient care and safety, as well as something else I am becoming a fervent believer in – DIY or Do-it-Yourself Health.

(1) Graham Douglas is a pioneer of Applied Mind Science with a wealth of experience in innovative projects in government, business, civil society organizations and in international development. Contact: www.integrative-thinking.com.

Read my first guest blog post on Hypervoice in Healthcare here