April 04, 2019
Alexa, its smart speaker, will now boast a handy toolkit of medical-related skills, Amazon announced Thursday.
According to the announcement on Amazon’s Alexa Blogs, the new medical tools — dubbed the Alexa Skills Kit — will permit “Covered Entities and their Business Associates, subject to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), to build Alexa skills that transmit and receive protected health information as part of an invite-only program.”
The Skills Kit will now feature six HIPAA-approved (the main healthcare privacy law) healthcare skills that will benefit everyone from healthcare providers to patients and even digital health coaching companies, Amazon explains.
With voice activation, Alexa will be able to use these tools to help patients with a variety of healthcare needs, serving as a personal medical receptionist of sorts, from the comfort of their own home. The company said users will be able to book doctor’s appointments, learn the status of prescription deliveries and get hospital discharge instructions after a surgery or medical procedure.
There is a bit of a catch: to utilize Alexa's medical tools you have to be somehow involved with Amazon's partners on each of the six tools. For example, members of Express Scripts will be able to check delivery updates for their prescriptions via Alexa notifications, the blog post explains.
Further, Cigna payors will be able to manage their health improvement goals and increase personal wellness incentive opportunities. Livongo customers will be able to access their last blood sugar test, receive personalized health tips and even be made aware of blood sugar trends. Check out the complete list of skills and their availability here.