It seems that some national healthcare officials in old Brittania are considering using Alexa as a clinical tool for serving the population covered under the NHS: Business Insider and other publications are reporting new announcements from the U.K. National Healthcare Service to employ Amazon's smart home device to answer simple questions for patients on behalf of the NHS doctors.
It's created to help patients, especially the elderly, blind and those who can not access the internet through traditional means, to get professional, NHS-verified health information in seconds, through simple voice commands.
The new partnership has been spearheaded by NHSX, which launched this month and aims to make health services available to patients via digital technology.More news: Actress Pooja Batra marries beau Nawab Shah
The NHS is collaborating with Amazon to make health information accessible via Alexa.
"We want to empower every patient to take better control of their health care", said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The move is part of a technological revolution in the NHS.
It's part of the British government's long-term modernization plan to provide more digital health services.More news: 'Misogynistic douchebag' goes on rant in a Bagel Boss, gets tackled
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said: "The public need to be able to get reliable information about their health easily and in ways they actually use". And by 2020 it is estimated that half of the searches will be through voice-assisted technology.
But it also goes without saying that patients with complex healthcare needs shouldn't fully rely on Alexa as their only source of advice, not to mention raising questions about privacy and data security. Boston Children's Hospital piloted several voice applications, including to improve the efficiency of ICU care and to streamline the preoperative organ transplant process.
In April, Amazon rolled out HIPAA-compliant skills for Alexa and announced the first six healthcare organizations, including Cigna and Atrium Health, now currently building voice skills that can securely transmit private patient health information.
Amazon has developed Alexa to be a near-ubiquitous platform built directly into more than 150 devices and compatible with over 28,000 more from thousands of manufacturers and I think this broad approach to third-party implementation and cross-system integration will be a deciding factor for the tech's adoption in healthcare.More news: DeepMind's AI to Take on Human StarCraft II Players on Battle.net