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How smart speakers can help physicians in surgery

Technology can have all sorts of medical applications. Powerful AI is used to sort through massive amounts of data to make diagnoses, but more familiar technology that many of us use every day can also have a part to play.

Plenty of us are now used to activating our devices with voice commands, whether we’re talking to our phone or smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. According to research presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting, this same smart speaker technology can also be used to help physicians in surgery.

Clinicians are unable to use computers mid-procedure

Kevin Seals, a fellow in interventional radiology and lead author of the study, explained that interventional radiologists (IRs) could use the systems to quickly check and retrieve important information without the risk of contamination.

He said: ‘During treatment, IRs rely on nuanced medical information delivered in a timely manner. When you’re in the middle of a procedure, you need to remain sterile, so you lose the ability to use a computer.

‘This smart speaker technology helps us to quickly and intelligently make decisions relevant to a patient’s specific needs.’

Team’s app can quickly determine the size of device required

The team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have developed an app that can respond to the spoken queries of the physician and reply with the exact size of device required depending on the patient and clinical situation.

This could, for example, involve providing guidance on the precise dimensions of the sheath that the IR requires in order to implant a stent in a patient’s blood vessel.

Seals said: ‘There are hundreds of devices, with more being introduced every day, making it difficult to determine the correct sizing or materials needed in every circumstance. This technology allows physicians to concentrate more closely on the care of their patients, devoting less time and mental energy to device technicalities.’

The team populated the app with specifications for hundreds of IR-related devices, including sheaths, stents, vascular plugs and catheters. They hope to expand the information to include factors such as inventory and material costs, as well as adapting the system for clinicians in other medical specialities.

Original article by Tech Data Newsflash, edited by TDConnect editors

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