The way physicians search for information is evolving. The days of just ‘Googling it’ or asking the doctor next door could be numbered, as physicians begin to consult virtual assistants for information instead. Innovative and Jetsonian as they might seem, virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa represent a natural progression from the search engine and ‘phone a colleague’ strategies employed by physicians today.
The use of voice assistants for professional purposes is modest, yet interest in using them is very high among physicians.
Though interest in using voice assistants is substantial among physicians, use is modest, at 12% so far. However, with personal use at 53%, it’s a good bet that professional use will climb substantially in the next few years, as more professional applications become available and physicians get comfortable using them in clinical practice. Among those who currently use voice assistants, two-thirds use Siri as their virtual colleague – unsurprising, given how heavily physicians favor iOS devices; and half of physician users are consulting Alexa or Google Assistant in their practices, pointing towards voice assistant “Skills” as a near term solution for pharma. We know from our Taking the Pulse® 2018 survey that most physicians would likely use a pharma-provided “Skill” to check dosing, confirm product indications, request coupons/vouchers, and order samples without a rep.