Study: Google beats Amazon, Apple voice assistants in comprehension of medication info requests

Google Assistant can better detect and comprehend users' voice requests for information regarding prescription medication than Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, according to a recent study published in Nature Digital Medicine.

Researchers from Klick Health, a lab company in Toronto, analyzed the ability of digital voice assistants from Google, Amazon and Apple to accurately comprehend brand name and generic name medications of 50 common drugs dispensed in the U.S. The researchers used voice recordings from 46 participants, 12 of which had foreign accents, which voiced the following prompt in English: "Tell me about," followed by the name of the medication.

Results of the study showed that Google Assistant was able to understand 92 percent of brand name medications and 84 percent of generic drugs. Siri comprehended a little more than 58 percent of brand name drugs and 51 percent of generic. Alexa demonstrated the lowest comprehension rates in comparison, with a 55 percent understanding of brand name medications and 46 percent understanding of generic drugs.

For recordings of participants with a foreign accent, Siri and Alexa displayed lower comprehension rates overall, at 48 percent and 41 percent respectively. The researchers noted that there was no significant difference in comprehension of recordings with and without accents by Google Assistant.

Researchers concluded that while Google illustrated a much more advanced artificial intelligence system than Amazon and Apple, voice recognition technology in healthcare can still be improved. Additionally, it is still extremely important to use a human transcriber for quality assurance when researching important topics such as information related to complex medications.

To access the full report, click here.

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