Young Americans may be ready for robotic medical assistants

When given the choice most people in their 40s or older prefer speaking with a live person to interacting with an automated system. But make people pay more for the privilege –as in the case of booking an airline ticket– and many will figure out how to adapt. As a gross generalization younger people, sometimes referred to as “digital natives” may be equally or more comfortable dealing with a machine, so long as it’s one with robust functionality and a strong user interface. Although I’m a bit older I’d put myself in the digital native category.

I was thinking about this notion while reading about a survey (conducted by CouponCodes4u, presumably as some sort of SEO gambit). From Healthcare IT News:

About one third of Americans are willing to receive some of their healthcare from robots, and 98 percent said they would receive robot care if it meant lower co-pays and health insurance costs.

A survey… of 1,723 Americans, aged 18-30, found 34 percent said that they would opt for care from a remote presence virtual and independent telemedicine assistant robot (RP-VITA), if given the choice, while 5 percent of respondents claimed to be “indifferent.”

To be fair, the survey seems to be describing a scenario where there’s a real, live doctor on the other end of the connection, so we’re not talking about cutting the doctor out of the loop, at least initially. But it is interesting that there seems to be such cost sensitivity.

Despite my technophilia, I’m not wildly enthusiastic about this idea. Think about what happens in a “chat” session with an online customer service representative. The reps clearly seem to have a lot of stock phrases they can fire off, presumably with some sort of one-click hotkey. There’s also a lot of lag time between question and answer, presumably because the CSRs are multi-tasking with multiple customers at a time to maximize their productivity.

I do fear that the downsides of the chat model could come to dominate the remote consultation business, at least in the mass market segment.



This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
Total votes: 5755