International Hospitals & Healthcare

Alexa moves into healthcare

Blue sound wave

“Alexa, book me a doctor’s appointment!”. Such a request could soon become possible as Amazon has announced a limited number of voice apps for the Alexa Skills Kit that operate in compliance with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Via an invite-only program, select developers can create and launch healthcare skills for Alexa. These will mean the virtual assistant can help consumers with things like booking appointments, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions and checking on the status of a prescription.

One of the new skills, introduced by insurer Cigna, will enable consumers to track wellness incentives, while another, from digital health company Livongo, can provide diabetics with blood glucose readings and health tips.

John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital, said: “Boston Children’s Hospital has long believed that voice technology has the potential to substantially improve the healthcare experience for both consumers and clinicians. We began this journey with one of the first Amazon Alexa skills from a hospital four years ago and are thrilled to participate in the initial launch of Amazon Alexa’s HIPAA-eligible service for developers.”