Medication Name Comprehension of Intelligent Virtual Assistants: A Comparison of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri Between 2019 and 2021

Front Digit Health. 2021 May 19:3:669971. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2021.669971. eCollection 2021.


The current study was a replication and comparison of our previous research which examined the comprehension accuracy of popular intelligent virtual assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri for recognizing the generic and brand names of the top 50 most dispensed medications in the United States. Using the exact same voice recordings from 2019, audio clips of 46 participants were played back to each device in 2021. Google Assistant achieved the highest comprehension accuracy for both brand medication names (86.0%) and generic medication names (84.3%), followed by Apple Siri (brand names = 78.4%, generic names = 75.0%), and the lowest accuracy by Amazon Alexa (brand names 64.2%, generic names = 66.7%). These findings represent the same trend of results as our previous research, but reveal significant increases of ~10-24% in performance for Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri over the past 2 years. This indicates that the artificial intelligence software algorithms have improved to better recognize the speech characteristics of complex medication names, which has important implications for telemedicine and digital healthcare services.

Keywords: digital medicine; intelligent virtual assistants; medication names; speech recognition; verbal comprehension; voice assistants.