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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Vanderbilt: Rethinking Language Recognition Systems in the Exam Room

Dr. Yaa Kumah-Crystal, self-describes as an early adopter of technology who is seizing on the fast embrace of natural language recognition systems — i.e. Siri and Alexa — to usher in an era of medicine where the tech is just as responsive.

Dr. Kumah-Crystal, assistant professor of biomedical informatics and pediatric endocrinology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is working on a project piloting in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology that takes voice commands to retrieve information from the electronic health record (EHR). She wants to make sure that tech is designed to work with clinicians in a way that’s organic and helpful to add to the patient-doctor relationship, rather than detract.

She’s passionate about why people should demand more out of computers than current expectations, and envisions a world in which she and her fellow clinicians work seamlessly with technology to educate patients on how to manage chronic conditions.

People are open to rethinking the computer’s job in the exam room because of the evolution and saturation of the smartphone and virtual assistants such as Alexa, Dr. Kumah-Crystal said.

“Until recently people thought this was science fiction — it’s not, but they had to see it to understand it. I think people have a little more faith that even us here in the medical field could have technology that works seamlessly as an extension. It takes time, and it takes building confidence,” she said.

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