Amazon's Alexa now handles patient health information

Amazon adds HIPAA compliance to Alexa Skills, opening door for secure health apps

Amazon's Alexa is now HIPAA compliant

"Alexa, book me a doctor's appointment!".

Amazon revealed new software that allows hospitals and health insurers to use voice tools to transfer patient information that is protected by the USA health privacy law known as HIPAA.

Alexa, the Amazon virtual assistant increasingly found in senior living communities across the country, now is capable of transmitting and receiving protected health information, Amazon announced Thursday. "These skills are just the first step in making it easier for customers to manage their healthcare needs using just their voice-we're excited to see what developers build next", the company said in a statement.

Amazon is planning to create and launch six HIPAA-compliant healthcare skills for its digital assistant Alexa, the company announced.

The medical insurance firm is piloting a voice skill aimed at increasing proactive health engagement; eligible employees can opt in to track personalized wellness incentives and receive daily motivational tips.

Livongo-the digital health company tackling chronic conditions while scooping up former executives from Allscripts and Cerner-has also built a new skill as part of the HIPAA-compliant service.

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Boston's Children's Hospital has one, called My Children's Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, which, as the name suggests, allows you to both provide recovery updates and get information on follow-up appointments, according to Amazon's blog post.

·Swedish Health Connect (from Providence St. Joseph Health, a healthcare system with 51 hospitals across 7 states and 829 clinics): Customers can find an urgent care centre near them and schedule a same-day appointment.

One of the six companies involved in the program is Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System), with a care continuum that includes nursing homes, home healthcare and hospice and palliative care. Livongo's skill will allow users to get their last blood sugar reading by simply asking Alexa.

Amazon says it expects to open up the platform to other developers in the near future.

"We have believed for long that voice technology has the potential to improve substantially the healthcare experience of consumers as well as clinicians". Among them we can count Express Scripts, Cigna and the Boston Children's Hospital.

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