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Amazon Polly, Ufonia and the future of voice-enabled applications in HealthTech



What is Amazon Polly?


Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice. The service can be used to convert text into lifelike speech in over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents.


Users can access the Amazon Polly service via API or by using one of the many integrations with AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Translate, or Amazon Alexa. The service offers a range of customization options, including adjusting the speed, pitch, volume, and pronunciation of the generated speech.


Amazon Polly is commonly used for applications such as voice-enabled applications, e-learning platforms, accessibility solutions, and automated voice responses for call centers. It offers high-quality, natural-sounding speech output, making it a popular choice for a variety of use cases.


What are the benefits of Amazon Polly?


Here are some of the benefits of using Amazon Polly:

  1. Natural-sounding speech: Amazon Polly uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds natural and human-like.

  2. Customisation options: The service offers a range of customization options, including adjusting the speed, pitch, volume, and pronunciation of the generated speech.

  3. Multilingual support: Amazon Polly supports over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents, making it a versatile option for international applications.

  4. Cost-effective: Amazon Polly is cost-effective, with a pay-as-you-go pricing model that allows users to pay only for what they use.

  5. Easy integration: The service can be easily integrated with a variety of AWS services, making it easy to add text-to-speech functionality to existing applications.

  6. Scalability: Amazon Polly is highly scalable and can handle large volumes of text-to-speech conversions, making it suitable for a variety of use cases.

  7. Accessibility: Amazon Polly can be used to create audio content that is accessible to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or other challenges that make reading difficult.

Overall, Amazon Polly provides a flexible and cost-effective solution for generating high-quality, natural-sounding speech that can be customized to meet a variety of needs.


How is Amazon Polly being used in Healthcare?

  1. Patient communication: Amazon Polly can be used to generate automated voice responses for call centers, appointment reminders, and patient education materials. This can help healthcare providers reach patients in a timely and efficient manner.

  2. Accessibility: Amazon Polly can be used to create audio content that is accessible to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or other challenges that make reading difficult. This can include medication instructions, patient education materials, or other healthcare-related content.

  3. Language translation: Amazon Polly supports over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents, making it a versatile option for international healthcare applications. It can be used to translate patient communication materials, medication instructions, and other healthcare-related content into multiple languages.

  4. Telemedicine: Amazon Polly can be used to create natural-sounding voice chatbots or virtual assistants to provide support to patients during telemedicine appointments. This can help healthcare providers to improve the patient experience and provide more personalized care.

Overall, Amazon Polly can help healthcare providers to improve patient communication, accessibility, and language translation capabilities. By leveraging this technology, healthcare organizations can provide a more patient-centric approach to care and improve patient outcomes.


What are voice enabled applications?


Voice-enabled applications are software applications that use voice recognition technology to accept and respond to user input through spoken commands. These applications allow users to interact with devices or services using natural language, without the need for a physical interface such as a keyboard or touch screen.


Examples of voice-enabled applications include virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, speech-to-text dictation tools, voice-controlled smart home devices, and voice-enabled customer service chatbots.


Voice-enabled applications can provide a more natural and intuitive way for users to interact with technology, as they do not require the user to type or navigate through menus. They can also be helpful for users with mobility or vision impairments who may find it difficult to use traditional interfaces.


In recent years, the development of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies has greatly improved the accuracy and usability of voice-enabled applications, making them increasingly popular for a wide range of applications.



Ufonia: next generation automated phone calls for the NHS


Ufonia is an Oxford-based digital health company on a mission to transform healthcare. Together as a diverse team of clinicians, designers, researchers, engineers and customer success managers we are using technology to redefine and reimagine healthcare delivery.


Ufonia has developed Dora a UKCA-marked autonomous clinical assistant that can call any number of patients, and have a natural voice conversation, covering a range of common clinical consultations.


Ufonia have built next-generation technology, and conducted rigorous clinical studies to ensure high quality care is delivered safely with an excellent patient experience.Ufonia’s aim is to increase clinical activity for providers, reduce cost for payers, and improve quality for patients.


Dora’s flexible scalability allows you to call as many patients as you need at anytime, without changing your current care pathway. Ufonia is deployed across multiple high volume care pathways and are growing everyday.


Case Study: University Hospitals Leicester


University Hospitals Leicester (UHL) treat over 1 million people a year across three hospitals in Leicester. They are one of the largest and busiest academic medical centres in the UK.


UHL used Ufonia to contact all the patients on their elective orthopaedic waiting list to validate they continued to need surgery in line with NHS England’s elective recovery guidelines.


Operational Challenge


In March 2022 UHL’s orthopaedic service had 3588 patients waiting for a surgical procedure. These numbers were increasing month on month and many patients had been waiting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UHL team wanted to identify patients who no longer wish to have surgery or who had their treatment elsewhere. Being able to remove these patients would highlight the true waiting list, so UHL could better plan their capacity to match the demand.

They also wanted to speak with their patients to identify any new medical issues that might affect the risks of surgery and keep them informed about the current waiting times for surgery.


Innovative Solution


Developed by Ufonia, Dora is an A.I. clinical assistant that autonomously telephones patients and has a routine clinical conversation, providing a scalable, high quality and efficient patient experience.

Dora was able to call all the patients on the UHL orthopaedic waiting list to support them ‘waiting well’. This released the equivalent of approximately 10 weeks of UHL staff time, saving significant costs and enabling those staff to focus on speeding up the delivery of care to patients still waiting.

Dora was able to understand patients’ wishes regarding treatment, and identified 11% of patients who no longer required surgery at UHL. This was equivalent to increasing the capacity to deliver nearly nearly £3⁄4 million of additional surgical activity.





Future of voice-enabled applications in HealthTech


The future of voice-enabled applications in HealthTech is very promising, as this technology has the potential to greatly improve the patient experience, streamline healthcare processes, and increase accessibility to healthcare services.


Here are some potential ways voice-enabled applications could be used in HealthTech in the future:

  1. Virtual assistants for patient care: Voice-enabled virtual assistants could be used to provide personalized care to patients, answering questions, scheduling appointments, and even providing medication reminders.

  2. Remote patient monitoring: Voice-enabled devices could be used to monitor patient health remotely, alerting healthcare providers to changes in the patient's condition or needs for intervention.

  3. Medical transcription: Voice recognition technology could be used to transcribe medical notes, reducing the administrative burden on healthcare providers and improving accuracy.

  4. Patient education: Voice-enabled applications could be used to provide patients with personalized education on their conditions, treatments, and medications, improving patient understanding and adherence.

  5. Accessibility: Voice-enabled applications could improve accessibility to healthcare services for patients with disabilities, such as visual or motor impairments, by allowing them to use natural language to interact with devices and services.

Overall, the future of voice-enabled applications in HealthTech is bright, as this technology has the potential to improve the patient experience, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. As the technology continues to develop and become more accurate and reliable, we can expect to see it increasingly integrated into healthcare systems and services.


Future of voice-enabled applications in the NHS: Amazon Polly


Amazon Polly can be used by the National Health Service (NHS) in a variety of ways to improve patient care, accessibility, and communication.


Here are some potential use cases for Amazon Polly in the NHS:

  1. Patient communication: Amazon Polly can be used to generate automated voice responses for call centers, appointment reminders, and patient education materials. This can help healthcare providers reach patients in a timely and efficient manner.

  2. Accessibility: Amazon Polly can be used to create audio content that is accessible to people with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or other challenges that make reading difficult. This can include medication instructions, patient education materials, or other healthcare-related content.

  3. Language translation: Amazon Polly supports over 30 languages and a variety of voices and accents, making it a versatile option for international healthcare applications. It can be used to translate patient communication materials, medication instructions, and other healthcare-related content into multiple languages.

  4. Speech therapy: Amazon Polly can be used to create personalized speech therapy exercises for patients with speech and language impairments.

  5. Medical transcription: Amazon Polly can be used to transcribe medical notes, reducing the administrative burden on healthcare providers and improving accuracy.

  6. Telemedicine: Amazon Polly can be used to create natural-sounding voice chatbots or virtual assistants to provide support to patients during telemedicine appointments. This can help healthcare providers to improve the patient experience and provide more personalized care.

Overall, Amazon Polly can help the NHS to improve patient communication, accessibility, and language translation capabilities. By leveraging this technology, the NHS can provide a more patient-centric approach to care and improve patient outcomes.


Future of voice-enabled applications in the NHS: Ufonia


Ufonia uses artificial intelligence to conduct routine medical appointments. This aims to increase patient engagement and free up more time for medical staff to focus on patients that need the most attention.


Through Artificial Intelligence (AI), Ufonia makes medical appointments more accessible. It benefits both doctors and patients by helping close the increasing supply and demand gap in healthcare services.


Ufonia can contact thousands of patients simultaneously at a pre-agreed time; and using AI, an automated and adaptive voice takes them through a series of questions and flags issues to healthcare professionals. Meanwhile, patients can talk to the system without new technology or skills, they just have a conversation over the phone.


This technology can be applicable to a range of medical pathways and is scalable globally. As an example, Ufonia is aiming to automate the process of doing regular check-ins with patients who have or have had certain conditions or surgeries – like those who recently experienced heart failure, had an operation, or people with chronic conditions like diabetes.


Rather than having to schedule an appointment with medical professionals or filling in a questionnaire, Ufonia's system would call.





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