How smart speaker technology can help interventional radiologists

Smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo have changed how people make phone calls, listen to music and check the weather, but they can also help interventional radiologists perform medical procedures.

Kevin Seals, MD, an interventional radiology (IR) fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues investigated the impact smart speakers can have on IR, sharing their findings at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting in Austin, Texas.

“During treatment, IRs rely on nuanced medical information delivered in a timely manner,” Seals said in a prepared statement. “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.”

The researchers developed their own application taking advantage of Google’s smart speaker technology, teaching it to answer basic questions related to the sizing of medical devices. Literature involving 475 different IR devices were used to program the application.

“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,” Seals said in the same statement. “This technology allows physicians to concentrate more closely on the care of their patients, devoting less time and mental energy to device technicalities.”