The Power of Conversation: Mayo Clinic's Approach to Content Services with Voice

Earlier this year we co-hosted a webinar with Joyce Even of the Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions group to discuss Mayo’s use of virtual assistant technology in healthcare education. This post summarizes the information shared in that webinar.

Mayo Clinic has long been recognized as a leader in digital healthcare education. In 1995, Mayo launched its first website— which has evolved into the well-regarded Keeping abreast of the steady rise in smartphone use and other devices, Mayo Clinic optimized their website for mobile platforms and launched a branded app. More recently, Mayo has begun to offer consumers and patients fast and reliable access to health and wellness information through the modality of voice and text-based chatbots, starting with the award-winning Mayo First Aid skill for Amazon Alexa.

The implementation of voice at Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic envisions virtual assistants in the following ways:  

  • Educating patients on their medical conditions, including post-procedure care
  • Guiding patients through physical therapy
  • Answering frequently asked questions

Outside of the hospital setting, Mayo Clinic recognizes virtual assistants as a powerful means to:

  • Sending patients medication reminders
  • Giving patients an easy way to report health concerns
  • Providing symptom assessment to help patients determine if they need to see a doctor
  • Accessing health and wellness answers
  • Acting as a medical alert system

Aside from the challenges inherent in developing conversational applications, Mayo Clinic faces another issue: how to make its vast body of information easily available to the growing voice and chat channels.

Web vs. voice: an example
A consumer concerned about food poisoning. may visit the website and locate pertinent information presented in short paragraphs, bullets, and subheadings.

If the same user were to ask the Alexa Mayo First Aid skill about symptoms of food poisoning and were to receive content verbatim from  the website; the questions would be answered, but in a lengthy and non- conversational way.

Mayo’s challenge is for content to be presented both succinctly with respect to content and optimized for a conversational user experience.

Mayo’s reputation and its early embrace of technology and its patient-centered ethos positions them well to set standards for delivery of healthcare content services over voice technology. To help make their content accessible across all channels, the organization is implementing the master content model.

The master content model
Mayo Clinic is making their content more accessible to users of virtual assistants by breaking it down into more discrete components. These discrete information bites may be presented on their own or collected with other information and efficiently delivered to the user. Employing their master content model, Mayo plans to execute the following:

  • Develop smart content for omni-channel delivery
  • Reduce manual effort
  • Deliver an engaging user experience

Mayo Clinic is not alone as it faces the challenges of building virtual assistants. The entire healthcare industry needs to consider how to distribute existing digital content through virtual assistants.

Orbita’s solution for knowledge base management
Orbita has been a leading innovator in content delivery through voice and chat virtual assistants. In March of 2019, we announced a new software service, Orbita Answers, that enables healthcare organizations to develop voice and chatbot-powered virtual assistants that can field a specific question and return a single answer from the information stored in a knowledge base.

To learn more about Mayo Clinic’s work in implementing virtual assistants and managing its knowledge base across all channels, watch the full webinar: The Power of Conversation—Healthcare Content Services With Voice.