Basic and Applied Memory Research: Practical Applications - Vol. 2

By Douglas J. Herrmann; Cathy McEvoy et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR Automated Voice Messages for Health Care

Von O. Leirer

Elizabeth Decker Tanke

Daniel G. Morrow

Decision Systems, Los Altos, CA

Could we know what men [people] are most apt to remember, we might know what they are most apt to do.

-- Halifax

This chapter summarizes our efforts toward developing and commercializing automated voice message reminders for increasing adherence to health care instructions. Most automated voice messaging in health care is concerned with improving patients' performance of some future behavior. Our research focuses on improving recall and performance of such future behaviors as taking medication and attending appointments because of their prevalence in health care and because of the potential cost savings from improved adherence ( Barron, 1980; Cooper, Love, & Raffoul, 1982; Ulmer, 1987). This report marks the beginning of automated message design research. Because of its importance in a variety of technology applications (i.e, more and more machines are talking to us) we believe that automated voice messaging research should be a rapidly growing area of applied cognitive psychology.

Nonadherence to health care instructions results in unnecessary illness and reduced health care provider efficiency ( Carasanos, Stewart, & Cluff, 1974; Cooper et al., 1982; Snyder & Hutton, 1989; Ulmer, 1987) and, therefore, increases health care costs for patients and society. The potential health care cost savings from reducing nonadherence is great. For example, an estimated 3% of all hospitalizations in the United States are due to medication nonadherence ( Cooper et al., 1982). Appointment nonadherence is also a significant problem ( Barron, 1980). In our own public health research, we conservatively

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