Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Transforming medical care in India with a new voice assistant for physicians.

oice assistants are being used for a wide range of applications today. Consumers are using them to shop and and play music, while professionals across many sectors are using them to become more efficient and effective., is a new venture working on transforming medicine in India with a new voice assistant platform for physicians. Doctors using the platform can use voice to reschedule appointments, write prescriptions, look up information, and update Electronic Medical Records. Physicians in hospitals are using the platform to get routine tasks done more efficiently, allowing doctors to spend more time on what really matters: delivering care to patients.

The hard part about developing voice recognition systems, of course, is that humans have all sorts of speech subtleties, and words can mean different things in different contexts. For example, “kidney” and “kid knee” sound the exactly the same, yet a human knows the difference via context. Teaching that to computers is hard.

Things get even more challenging with accents. A doctor speaking English with a German accent sounds quite different than a doctor speaking English with an Australian accent.

Now think about India — a huge country with hundreds of languages and thousands of regional dialects. That’s a pretty big challenge for speech-recognition software.

Shubu is solving this challenge by using AI and Machine Learning — their software actually learns different accents. The software looks at speech patterns across many voices, and it looks at edits that doctors make to transcriptions. In this way it learns different accents and becomes more and more accurate.

We are seeing digital transformation across many sectors today. While many people still think of AI as being technology that replaces human brains, the most powerful examples are actually ones where AI is being used to make humans more productive. By using AI to make it easier for people to offload the easy stuff to computers, it allows doctors and other professionals for focus their brainpower on more important things–like spending time with patients and improving lives.

Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, run the 4thly Startup Accelerator, and coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center. @bretwaters