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Microsoft talks up ‚natural‚

Yesterday, at the GSMA Mobile Health Summit, DR KRISTIN TOLLE of Microsoft said that companies need to listen to what people say, adapt to their needs and keep the products ‘natural’ in order to get mHealth solutions adopted.

Dr. Kristin Tolle, director of Natural User Interactions at Microsoft, said that the mobile health industry can ‚come up with tools that are more natural for people to use‚ in order to increase service penetration. ‚You have to think about what people say, what they see, what they hear, and how they feel. If you tap into people’s emotion, you’ll definitely get adoption of the solutions,‚ she noted.

In a presentation yesterday, a number of attributes for successful services were highlighted, including: the need for products to be ‚culturally sensitive:‚ the need to support multiple languages and ‚unlettered‚ users: the need to be adaptive to support many environments and diseases: the need to interoperate with other products and services: the need for products to be easy to adopt and, finally, the need to ‚feel natural.‚

Tolle highlighted a number of positive steps which have been made by the industry, including the fact that more organisations are contributing time and funding to projects: that there is more focus on emerging markets: and that there are ‚many excellent projects‚ underway. However, she also noted a number of areas for work, including making the appropriate use of technology, with mobile health solutions representing ‚only a piece of the puzzle:‚ the fact that the focus is still largely on developed-market products: the need to educate front line staff: and the requirement for solutions to be scalable and interoperable.

Also discussed were technologies that will be important for future mobile health solutions. These include speech recognition which, when adopted within specific domains, can deliver performances that are ‚very good:‚ machine translation, to enable information to be delivered in multiple languages: tagging, scanning and verification applications: and enhanced use of electronically available knowledge, which Tolle described as tapping into the ‚deep web.‚

‚Mobile health and the ubiquity of the cell phone is really the natural solution,‚ she concluded.

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