A software program and a hardware device that is capable of decoding a human voice is known as Voice recognition technology or Voice search technology. Voice search technology converts a spoken word into a command or text entry. Voice search is not just limited to recognizing the spoken word, it includes identification of emotions in speech, assessment of language skills, and speaker identification. It can also be used to convert speech into text for use in applications such as search engines. Voice search technology enables computers to recognize human voices and learn what they mean.

Technology has been revolutionizing the way we interact with computers, allowing us to command computers with relative ease when used. A next-generation and exciting technology – Voice search, has the potential to assist in the healthcare field in a number of ways. For e.g., healthcare providers, nurses, and doctors can dictate their notes on the computers without having to take time out from patient care. Similarly, the voice search is now a widely used healthcare technology tool, providing an opportunity for patients to receive care from home. 

Importance of Speech and Voice Recognition in the Healthcare Setting 

The importance and the application of voice-enabled virtual assistant systems,  voice-activated systems, and voice-enabled devices are growing in different sectors. It is one of the most influential emerging technology trends set to revolutionize the way users and providers interact with each other. Sectors such as banking, hospitality, e-commerce, automobile, and retails, among others are widely using these speech recognition devices in their system over the previous decade. Similarly, the healthcare industry is also adopting voice & speech recognition. 

In speech recognition, the computer program identifies different words and converts them into a rather machine-readable format, which can be used immediately or later for a wide range of purposes. These Speech and Voice Recognition devices are easy to use with hands-free components. These devices help to get the work done efficiently and increase productivity. Worldwide, several healthcare institutions and healthcare service providers are currently using these systems in their day-to-day operations.

Benefits of Speech and Voice Recognition in the Healthcare Domain

Increases the Productivity of the Healthcare Professionals

Speech recognition helps healthcare professionals to achieve productivity. It assists them to take care of more patients at a time. It also helps healthcare institutions to save a lot of money as well as it makes inter-department communication more efficient and effective by reducing the turnaround time.

Fewer Errors

Speech recognition can create documents without errors. The information is recorded more accurately, transmitted properly, and also delivered and saved with much more precision. The information is also transmitted in real-time across departments, due to which both the departments remain updated with factual information. With the advancement in technology, speech recognition systems are getting more authentic and are expected to save time abd money as well.

Improved Mobility

The Speech recognition system can capture speech much faster than typing in real-time and provides more flexibility to the physician. The physical only needs to edit the documents as there will be fewer errors with voice recognition software. It can also be more beneficial for patients having problems with speech or sight. 

Better Decision Making

Healthcare organizations are increasingly adopting voice recognition software to provide an easy-to-access transcript of the medical records. These records can be used to further produce valuable insights for commercial advantages and improve healthcare services. It can overcome the gap and make better decisions for medical practice, improving care and efficacy. The recorded information is readily available and can be used at multiple points and at multiple times by the hospital and care center to understand their patient needs better. 

Voice Data Has Become Reusable

Readmission is one of the major concerns for the healthcare industry. Voice data proved to be helpful in reducing hospital readmission. Saved voice data can be used as many times as necessary and can provide more accurate and immediate information to the patient. Similarly, it can be used to improve post-discharge compliance and make follow-up efforts easier for healthcare professionals.

How Speech and Voice Recognition Technology Can be Implemented in the Healthcare 

The healthcare journey of a patient consists of several stages. The inquiry about the illness or symptoms is one of the first steps where the patient uses the voice search. Similarly, the patient’s interaction with the doctor for consultation is the next step. At this stage, the doctor and the patient can use Speech and Voice Recognition to exchange and store the information. Healthcare providers instead of typing their notes, reports, and other medical records, can use the speech-to-text options. The software can understand most of the medical terminology and can also integrate seamlessly with the EHR. 

The  Speech and Voice Recognition system can be more productive for activities such as seeing patients and increasing the cash flow. Currently, several startups are using speech technology as a virtual scribe to conduct health checkups and data entry via voice through devices. Similarly, some AI-based systems are available that can translate the voices into a rich, detailed clinical description and can learn from previous records to make certain suggestions. The technology is in the initial stages of development; in the coming years, this software and the process will have a wide role in other healthcare segments as well, such as radiology, pathology, research treatment, nutrition information, emergency medicine, and others.

Apart from patient-doctor interaction, Speech and Voice Recognition can be implemented in verticals such as health plan enrollment, handling customer queries, healthcare insurance, patient management, buying medications, and appointment scheduling. 

Key Factors Driving the Speech and Voice Recognition Market 

Many healthcare professionals spend a large amount of time composing notes and reports and maintaining each patient’s medical records because documenting every minute detail is critical in healthcare. However, these responsibilities divert time away from more productive tasks like treating and connecting with patients. As a result, doctors and physicians prefer natural language processing (NLP) algorithm-based voice recognition software solutions. Voice recognition technology is generally utilized in the healthcare sector to report health exams, data entry, and when the doctor or attendant/nurse is unavailable. Such voice recognition software solutions allow healthcare personnel to enter notes into the electronic health record (EHR) system or their PCs without interrupting patient care and remain productive throughout the day.

This eliminates the need for healthcare providers to work late to complete paperwork, allowing them to see more patients during the day. The easy-to-use and hands-free capabilities of an automated speech recognition system in medical applications allow clinicians to complete their tasks more efficiently, fueling the expansion of the speech and voice recognition market. As a result, greater production results in increased cash flow.

Moreover, increased demand for voice and speech biometric systems, as well as the growing use of voice-based authentication in mobile applications, will drive the expansion of the speech and voice recognition market. The increased adoption of advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, and machine learning would stimulate demand for speech and voice recognition technology. In the future, the speech and voice recognition market will be driven by voice recognition technology utilized in developing technologies such as self-driving and autonomous cars, as well as speech and voice recognition in robots. The speech and voice recognition technology will also be extremely useful in the instruction of visually impaired children. This is one of the critical variables that would boost the global speech and voice recognition market growth.

Speech and Voice Recognition Market Barriers

A quiet environment is essential for the proper operation of speech and voice recognition technology. Too much background noise might degrade speech and voice recognition results. Hence, this is one of the primary obstacles to efficiently deploying speech and voice recognition technology in outdoor areas, large public places, and businesses. Despite recent advances, the WER of speech and voice recognition technology cannot match the WER of people. In addition, the speech and voice recognition market may encounter difficulties due to a lack of speech or voice accuracy, as well as impaired speech. Such issues may prevent devices from recognizing voice or speech commands, putting the speech and voice recognition market at risk.

Impact of COVID-19 on Speech and Voice Recognition Market

The speech and voice recognition market has grown significantly in recent years as a result of rising demand for speech and voice-based biometric systems for multi-factor authentication, the growing impact of AI on the accuracy of speech and voice recognition, and the rapid proliferation of smart speakers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the growth pace of the speech and voice recognition market, particularly in 2020 and 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has both positive and negative effects on the speech and voice recognition market. With the majority of the population working from home, the need for smart appliances and devices has skyrocketed. This has also provided a business potential because this technology is used in a variety of smart gadgets. During the pandemic, however, many people focused on maintaining a basic lifestyle, avoiding purchasing luxurious or non-essential things for a limited time.

Key Companies in the Speech and Voice Recognition Market

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing businesses, and it continues to embrace new technology that gives patients smooth and cost-effective care. Chatbots, voice search, speech, and voice recognition technology are becoming increasingly popular among the younger and working populations, in addition to telemedicine and telehealth.

Tech Giant in the Speech and Voice Recognition Segment
Tech Giant in the Speech and Voice Recognition Segment

Patients who use voice search tend to talk in sentences and ask comprehensive questions rather than inputting specific keywords. As a result, key voice search companies are pursuing a variety of strategic activities, including mergers & acquisitions, and collaborations. Currently, there are numerous existing applications for voice assistants that can improve patients’ access to healthcare.

Moreover, the leading tech giants such as Advanced Voice Recognition Systems, Inc., International Business Machines Corp., Microsoft Corp., Agnitio S.L., Amazon.com, Inc., Api.ai, Apple, Inc., Raytheon Company, SemVox GmbH, Sensory, Inc., Anhui USTC iFlytek, Ltd., Baidu, Inc., BioTrust ID B.V., CastleOS Software, LLC, Nortek Holdings, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google, Inc., MModal, Inc., Nuance Communications, IncAWS, and others are currently working in the voice recognition market and also developing more voice recognition technologies to improve the treatment journey of the patient. 

Speech and Voice Recognition – Recent Developments and the Market Scenario

Over the past few years, strong demand from the user side for speech and voice recognition has been observed worldwide due to the improving efficiency, raising awareness, the growing use of smartphones, and the favorable policies by the government. The growing digitalization and technological innovations in device research and manufacturing have immensely driven the speech and voice recognition devices market. In recent years, several key developments have taken place in the Speech and Voice Recognition Market. Some of the major developments include – 

  • In May 2021, Nuance Communications announced a strategic partnership with athenahealth. As per the agreement, Nuance Communications will help to integrate speech and virtual assistant technology in the athenaOne® EHR and Mobile App. 
  • In Sep-2021, Augmedix came into a partnership with Google Cloud to harness automated speech recognition technology for use in real-world clinical settings.

Ongoing strategic collaborations and deals like these are helping the healthcare providers to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and also assist them in catering to their patient’s needs in a much better way. 

Despite these favorable factors, some of the key concerns, such as the growing cyberattacks, accuracy of data, and security breaches by intruders, are expected to hamper the voice recognition technology. Similarly, the budgetary issues and expenses in deployment, and personal preferences of the healthcare professionals & patients, are other key issues that need to be addressed for the wide-scale adaptability and integration of speech and voice recognition systems in the healthcare setting.

Way Ahead

Voice recognition technology or voice search is an exciting new technology that holds the caliber to aid the healthcare sector in various manners. The major impact of this technology is the dictation of notes by healthcare providers without having to take time out from patient care. This results in doctors and nurses spending more time on personal interactions and other remaining tasks while still all of their computation work from the speech is done effectively. Even for the patient, voice search is very beneficial as it becomes easier for them to get help if they’re not feeling well just by using voice recognition technology. It can be an app on their phones, tabs, or other devices. Voice search technology will transcribe what patients say aloud so someone else can read it back and see if there are any concerns about symptoms or medication options. 

Voice-enabled tools lie in the broad category of conversational AI, a digitally advanced technological field to aid in transforming the healthcare sector and making giant leaps forward.