July 11, 2012
IVR Expands Into the Pediatric Field
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems aren’t just for bank transactions or instructing travelers on the status of their flight. This technology is also being used to the benefit of patients that can’t interact with computers using the traditional keyboard and mouse.
Most people know IVR for its ability to automate voice mail greetings or provide website and PowerPoint narration. Clients are using IVR today more than ever to reach out to a new generation of users who prefer to handle a majority of their business electronically.
With today’s technology – according to this Plum Voice blog – hosted IVR systems can do more and more to please the customer. It’s also of great tool for companies that formerly relied heavily on live agents to handle calls.
The same technology developed in IVR solutions is also helping children who have not yet learned how to use the keyboard and aren’t quite getting the hang of the mouse just yet. Two companies have joined up to offer an IVR system that is assisting children.
Norwegian-based MediaLT and Lingit are developing a synthetic voice that can be used by children interacting with IVR systems. The system, which actually uses an adult voice that is synthesized to sound like a child, helps to make children more at ease with the IVR system.
One of the issues IVR system designers face when developing solutions for children is working around their elocution. Speech patterns in children are much different than those in adults. To combat the clarity issue, designers established a large database, ultimately creating a language based on this database.
Pediatricians and doctors working with adult disabled patients will likely see these IVR systems further develop beyond the current innovations in IVR for children. From speech therapists to specialists working with handicapped individuals, the IVR technology that was once developed solely for business needs is now coming online for altruistic uses. Some in the industry believe that IVR can help shape how pediatricians approach technology for the foreseeable future.
Companies like Plum Voice – which has been engineering top-notch IVR systems for businesses for years – aren’t likely to use the childlike voices in their offerings to businesses, but bringing the IVR technology into industries that have never touched it helps widen the knowledge and familiarization of others with what the company has offered for years.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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