Amazon Alexa can now find you a doctor, schedule doctor's appointments and more as it becomes HIPAA-compatible.
Now that Amazon Alexa is HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, compatible, Alexa is able to manage your sensitive health information. This includes being able to find a doctor, pulling up your blood glucose readings and so much more.
This is a pretty big step for Amazon, as it is looking to get into the health care sector, a sector that is worth around $3.5 trillion. That's the next big thing for Amazon and where the retailer plans to expand next.
Amazon says that it has worked with six partners to unleash these new Alexa health skills. This is all thanks to Alexa now being HIPAA compliant, which essentially means that third-parties are able to get that information. As HIPAA is designed to protect patients' health information. That is something that you don't want just anyone being able to access.
Not only is this important for for Amazon, as it is able to get a foot into the door of the health care sector, but it is also going to make things simpler for users. Instead of needing to call your doctor's office and book an appointment, you're going to be able to do this simply by asking Alexa to schedule an appointment for you. This is similar to what Google is doing with Duplex, though Duplex isn't actually for doctor's offices yet. But that will likely come in the very near future.
The importance of Amazon getting this HIPAA compliant stamp (so to speak) is the fact that it can now do much more than simply finding you a doctor, or scheduling an appointment. As it now can access your health information. So when you ask it to schedule you an appointment, it knows which doctor to schedule an appointment with, instead of choosing one at random. That makes this a lot more helpful for those that actually want to use these new skills for Alexa.
This also opens the doors for hospitals and doctor's offices to create their own Alexa skills for different things. For example, the Boston Children's Hospital built a KidsMD skill. This skill offers generalized wellness advice to parents. So if you're kid is exhibiting symptoms of Chicken Pox, you can ask Alexa for the symptoms and whether you need to take them into the hospital. It's one of those skills that seems pretty basic skills, but it is one that can be very helpfu for parents.
Amazon is truly looking to make Alexa the voice assistant that can do everything for you. And with this latest announcement, it is doing just that. Sure, you can ask Alexa for the weather, or what's on your calendar, but being able to ask Alexa for things like Flu symptoms, or to find a doctor near you, can be very useful as well. As it takes less work than having to actually Google a doctor near you, yourself. These skills are available on Alexa right now.