Apple has implemented a version of the COVID-19 triage questionnaire protocol from the U.S. Public Health Service and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) through Siri. If you say, “Hey Siri. Do I have coronavirus?” the voice assistant will guide you through a series COVID-19 assessment of questions and make recommendations based on your answers.
If you experience persistent chest pain or pressure, extreme difficulty breathing, severe shortness of breath, severe constant dizziness or lightheadedness, slurred speech, or difficulty waking up, then seek immediate medical attention or call 911. Otherwise stay at home and isolate yourself from others.
Contact a medical provider in your condition worsens, you’re age 65 or over, or you have a serious medical condition like lung or heart disease, or diabetes. If you can’t reach a provider, telehealth apps may be able to help.
LINKS TO TELEMEDICINE APPS
The link to the app store, gives information and advice. It leads the user to a page entitled “Connect to a Telehealth provider“. Then it says “Chat with a provider via SMS, voice or video and get assistance similar to what you you would receive during a traditional office visit.“
Ten results are provided for telehealth apps with Amwell: Doctor Visits 24/7, Teledoc and Sydney Care among the top three.
By clicking on Sydney Care, the opening description got updated to say: “Screening yourself and evaluate your risk for free with a COVID-19 assessment available now“.
It can be inferred that this may be an Apple strategy. A strategy to channel users to its app partners and thus take advantage of it.
However these providers have been certified by the App Store and you can read customer reviews that tell about their experience.
This does not necessarily mean that users need to trust these suppliers to assist them with COVID-19 questions. But, somehow, it does provide them with a signal to evaluate quality.
Including apps as a potential resource can also prove as a possibility to help those people who are stuck in the house and have no provider to call.
ALEXA AND GOOGLE ASSISTANT PROVIDE BASIC INFORMATION BUT NO TRIAGE QUESTIONS
Apple’s mode and Siri Covid-19 assessment contrasts with Amazon and Google because of their voice assistants which have many users. Both companies chose to provide only basic information about the coronavirus without conversation items or attempts to diagnose it.
Amazon and Google have removed the Alexa Skills and Google Actions regarding the info on Covid-19. This step applies universally to all third parties regardless of their origin or the credentials of the people behind them.
This made it possible to raise the question for the voice assistants in use. Especially about the probabilities that they could give rise to the diffusion of inaccurate information.
For this reason Apple believed that the best solution could be to offer a more structured conversation experience. In this case even surpassing Alexa and Google Assistant.
CORONAVIRUS CHATBOTS SPREAD RAPIDLY
Siri Covid-19 assessment is well accompanied, in fact Orbita and Hyro have created chatbots for healthcare professionals to help respond to patient requests.
All these activities demonstrate how conversational bots can interact and help people in a moment so fragile that the world is going through.
Apple says that Siri has a fundamental role alongside these specialized bots to give answers to users by pointing them towards Telehealth providers.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that Siri has a considerable number of consumers. This means that it could have a wider impact.
Google, however, has opened a new page dedicated to Covid-19. But, does not offer any assistance regarding the evaluation for consumers.