Smartphone Conversational Agents (Apple Siri, Google, Windows Cortana) and Questions about Allergy and Asthma Emergencies
Monday, March 6, 2017
Exhibit Hall B2 (Georgia World Congress Center, Building B)
Rajmohan Rammohan, Nisha Dhanabalsamy, Ves Dimov, MD, Frank J. Eidelman, MD FAAAAI
Rationale:  Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends a patient to the ER. Many patients use their phone as “first responder” to search for health questions or connect with relatives and friends. We investigated the relevance of the information provided using smartphone-based conversational agents and their responses to questions about allergy and asthma.

Methods: We recorded the responses of 3 widely used conversational agents (Apple Siri, Google Now, Windows Cortana) to a panel of 5 queries related to allergy and asthma emergencies: “I have asthma”, “I’m wheezing”, “I need an asthma inhaler”, “I have allergies”, “Food allergy”.

Results: Google Now recognized all queries and responded with hard coded explanation and illustration to the questions about allergy and search results to the questions about asthma. Cortana recognized all questions but provided only search results. Siri recognized only 2 questions. None of the agents recognized the queries as emergencies.

Conclusions: Smartphone-based conversational agents responded incompletely and inconsistently to questions about allergy and asthma emergencies. Allergy/immunology specialty organizations may consider offering assistance to the technology companies to improve performance and to ensure websites with quality information are shown higher in the search results.