Voice Assistance: Performance Considerations Behind Hands-free Medical Workflow Streamlining; Impact of Mobile EHR Solutions on Patient-Provider Interactions and Care Quality

Lin, Michael, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are a key element in the mounting challenge of maintaining a healthy relationship with patients while keeping a high quality of care given by healthcare professionals globally. In a world where every second matters, innovations are constantly being made to further increase workflow efficiency in the healthcare setting. When making significant changes to healthcare workflow, it is important to consider the possible effects of the alteration of practices and norms in this setting. The technical portion of the thesis describes the development of voice commands as a form of input with healthcare providers in mind in the mobile EHR solution, to serve as an alternative to the previously sole physical input required by these mobile devices. By providing voice commands as a form of input for workflows, it will empower healthcare professionals to provide efficient healthcare to all patients. The STS portion focuses on the impact of the emergence of new technologies related to the EHR such as mobile and voice implementations, and how these innovations may potentially alter healthcare practice norms. Various facets arise as a result of these new technologies seeing light in the medical setting, with further implications to their use such as a trust in medical practices, changes in the workflow of doctors and nurses, as well as the resistance to change from healthcare professionals upon the adoption of new technologies.
The technical paper describes the experiential event from my internship in Summer 2023 with a large-scale medical records company based in the Midwest. My task was to develop an embedded solution for voice commands through the existing mobile EHR solution created by the company. Over the course of development, Swift, Objective-C, and M were used alongside Apple APIs. Multiple components went into the creation of voice command capabilities, such as server requests, modular user interfaces, and the use of internal directories. At the conclusion of the internship, a baseline of voice command capabilities was made, opening the possibility for more commands to be implemented. Compliance with healthcare privacy regulations are required to continue the project which would involve reaching an agreement with Apple engineers.
The STS research paper focuses on the question: How has the introduction of mobile EHR solutions changed patient-provider interactions and medical practices in the healthcare setting? A literature review was conducted which made a comprehensive analysis of scholarly articles which presented three main themes, innate conservatism of the medical community, changes in medical workflow, and the role of technology in the medical setting. Mutual shaping was used as an argument that mobile EHR and voice technologies shape healthcare practices and norms, as well as the other way around. Conservatism of medical professionals on the adoption of new technologies requires an understanding of how certain technologies must be molded to fit the evolving needs of the healthcare sector. The roles of technology and workflows can be observed as a result of that.
The technical paper and the STS research come together as a way to look into the future of health record keeping technology for medical professionals as it outlines the current state of technological innovation in the mobile EHR sector. The technical paper focused on implementing a technology to supplement mobile EHRs, and the STS research analyzed how this affects medical practices. Both projects were a success. The technical project laid a foundation of streamlining medical workflows through a mobile device allowing for increased efficiency of care for patients, which through further development will be capable of more efficient workflows and powerful tools for healthcare professionals. To further improve the technical project, healthcare privacy compliance must be achieved to ensure a safe patient experience. The STS research can be furthered by exploring the implications of healthcare privacy regulations, as well as exploring the effects of patient trust. Patient perceptions of trust is rather an undeveloped topic at this time. Future research is possible for both papers.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
EHR, Mobile, Voice Assistance, Healthcare

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Rosanne Vrugtman

STS Advisor: Kent Wayland

Issued Date: