2021 has been a transformative year, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also made us realise the importance of leveraging the power of technology to manage this crisis of unprecedented scale and impact. Virtual health care has literally and figuratively been a lifeline during this global crisis. Now, the world is ready to capitalise on the experience gained in virtual healthcare during this time and evolve it to a higher degree of utility and access. Emotion AI is one of the promising technologies that can propel the quality of virtual medical consultations and diagnosis a notch higher.
When paired with live video, it can fill the information gap between patients and healthcare specialists by analysing subtle non-verbal facial cues, which cannot be detected otherwise in plain vanilla video meetings, giving healthcare providers much more information, and making the entire experience more meaningful contextual and engaging for the patient.
What Is Emotion AI And Why Does It Matter In Healthcare?
Emotion AI can identify and analyse human emotions, such as anger, disgust, fear, surprise, happiness, sadness and neutrality, by measuring micro-expressions that are too fast and subtle for a human eye to capture. It thereby lets you look at the cognitive and emotive aspects of communication, providing you with actionable insights to make smarter decisions.
This powerful technology holds a lot of promise in the healthcare & health tech sector, particularly in terms of complementing the diagnosis and treatment of specific ailments. Notably, the healthcare industry has been at the forefront of embracing new-age technologies from time to time.
Let’s look at some interesting ways in which Emotion AI can be leveraged in the healthcare sector:
Supporting Autistic Individuals
One in every 60 children in India is now suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), according to B.P. Lalitha, consultant psychiatrist of KIMS ICON Hospital, and the count is rapidly increasing.
Those affected by ASD have difficulties with social, emotional, and communication abilities. This deficiency causes a loss of capacity to comprehend and interpret others’ feelings and emotions, resulting in severe social skills impairment. This is where Emotion AI combined with video conferencing can help autistic people understand the emotional condition of those with whom they are communicating. This added layer of Emotion AI enriches the dialogue for them, allowing them to better integrate into society by providing them with a new means to perceive and express emotions.
Diagnosis Of Mental Health Issues
The pandemic brought on a “mental health tsunami,” according to American Psychological Association CEO Arthur Evans Jr. It is worrisome that many people suffer in silence and are hesitant to seek medical help. Notably, virtual services are regarded as safe, effective, and comparable to in-person treatments in terms of outcomes while addressing mental health issues.
Emotion AI’s capacity to detect positive and negative emotions can aid in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of certain specific mental health conditions during virtual consultations. In some cases, the algorithms may also help doctors decode and predict the varying degrees of anxiety and stress in remote patients via live video interactions.
Assisting Doctors And Nurses
Although patient waiting time may appear to be a minor aspect, it can have a significant impact on overall patient satisfaction. When there are large queues of patients in the waiting lobby, healthcare practitioners can use Emotion AI to monitor facial expressions in physical and remote environments (video consultations) to prioritise patients who are experiencing utmost discomfort and may need urgent care. Especially, in the case of virtual consultations, Emotion AI can provide doctors with vital information about a patient’s attitude. These “mood indications” can assist them to modify their tone and pitch to deliver more comfort. Also, it rings a bell in cases where a patient requires immediate care and attention.
Experts have now started pondering over the potential usage of Emotion Recognition Technology in pregnancy care. Various studies have already pointed out that emotional status (stress, anxiety, anger etc.) can be a relevant risk factor during the pregnancy phase. This technology can certainly help gauge the emotional status of pregnant ladies and take timely action to help them deal with the mental issues afflicting them.
Recruiting Right People
Healthcare industry functions in a different way than various other industries. It needs people who have the right EQ as they have to deal with patients who can be emotionally vulnerable. By pairing Emotion AI with Live Video, hospitals can get people with the right mental and behavioural attitude on board, especially nurses, doctors and those dealing with contact centre agents. People in these roles require a high level of empathy and the ability to maintain calm in stressful situations.
On a final note, emotion AI paired with live video can help medical personnel better recognize and timely respond to a patient’s pain, fear, and other emotions improving the patient care outcome.
It’ll be interesting to watch how technology providers and healthcare practitioners can use this technology to solve the most complicated challenges and treat major ailments while enhancing the patient care experience.