Siri Should Not Be a Best Friend
March 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I watched an interesting research presentation on the morning news about changes in our culture resulting from the onset of the mobile age. The primary point of the research was that we have become so dependent on our mobile phones that we’ve started to back away from human relationships. The success of Apple’s Siri character has only made the problem worse, as “she” is always available to talk to us about what is going on in our lives and is often the conduit for relaying the iPhone4 users’ intimate and personal thoughts. Cute, but not conducive to a high emotional IQ.
The Siri example provides good advice to those of us who are building products that help connect patients to their health care providers. Many first-generation apps contribute to this increasing alienation because they simply replace humans with advice dispensed from a smart phone. They are technologically elegant, but only contribute to the growing disconnect between patients and the health care industry.
By focusing on using technology, including smart phones and tablets, as a way to build connections, rather than negating the need for human relationships, mobile health will be most effective. The technology allows a doctor or other care provider to have conversations through a technological conduit and the mobile health application will be driven by a care plan that was built by a doctor for a specific individual. Reminders and messages then follow doctor’s orders, and are not simply spit out by a piece of inanimate software.
When we realize our mission of building a connection and a common language between patients and those who work to keep them healthy, we will advance the cause of mobile health. Increasing patient engagement will result from stronger -not fewer- relationships. Sorry Siri, you’ll have to stick to providing directions to the nearest restaurant.