Governments are closing borders, prohibiting large gatherings, advocating social-distancing, and encouraging good hygiene. However, if you are an immunocompromised person or live with someone who is, following government guidelines can still be challenging.
One thing we can all do is to limit who and what we touch at home and in public, in order to slow down the spread of the virus. What this means is that, where possible, we go hands-free. The good news is that we live in a world where going hands-free is increasingly possible; all our devices and apps we use for daily life can now be operated using voice technology.
At this point, the need to self-isolate is crucial, particularly for older people but there is no reason why their social, dietary, and medical needs can’t be met. Food ordering, pharmaceutical delivery and timetabling as well as staying in contact with loved ones, can all be conducted with voice-enabled devices and platforms.
The National Institutes of Health in the US has begun a clinical trial of an investigational vaccine for COVID-19 and hopefully, a vaccine is not far away. This got us thinking about the future and pandemic and medical crises are handled. Currently, hospitals and doctor’s offices are experiencing very high volumes of calls and patient admissions due to the virus.
Advancements in Voice AI, while not a cure-all, could, in fact, ease the stress of medical staff, and slow transmission in the event of a pandemic.
Patients can talk to an intelligent assistant to get basic medical advice that frees up doctors to deal with the most in need of care. And by going hands-free, where possible, doctors are less at risk themselves and to their patients.
Technology is no replacement for compassion, cooperation, or altruism but it can certainly be used to combat the worst ravages of a crisis.