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Patient and consumer safety risks when using conversational assistants for medical information: an observational study of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Bickmore TW, Trinh H, Olafsson S, et al. Patient and Consumer Safety Risks When Using Conversational Assistants for Medical Information: An Observational Study of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20(9):e11510. doi:10.2196/11510

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September 19, 2018
Bickmore TW, Trinh H, Olafsson S, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20(9):e11510.

Experts have raised safety concerns for patients seeking medical information over the Internet. This study examined whether a conversational assistant such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant would provide accurate information in response to a medical question. Lay participants queried a randomly assigned conversational assistant about their own health-related question and standardized questions relating to medication use and recognition of symptoms. Conversational assistants were unable to answer the majority of questions. Among the answered questions, a significant proportion of suggested actions (29%) could lead to harm. The authors conclude that conversational assistants are neither safe nor effective in providing actionable medical information.

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Bickmore TW, Trinh H, Olafsson S, et al. Patient and Consumer Safety Risks When Using Conversational Assistants for Medical Information: An Observational Study of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20(9):e11510. doi:10.2196/11510