'Alexa, find me a doctor': Amazon Alexa adds new medical skills

First published by CNBC

The Echo Plus is about the size of a half-used roll of paper towels

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Echo Plus is about the size of a half-used roll of paper towels

  • Amazon Alexa is now HIPAA compliant, meaning it can work with health developers that manage protected health information.
  • That's a big step for Amazon as it moves into the health space.
  • The company said it worked with partners on six new health skills, which help people make doctor's appointments and check their health status.

Amazon's voice assistant can now manage people's sensitive health information, which represents an important step for the company into the $3.5 trillion health care sector.

As of Thursday, consumers will be able to use about half a dozen new Alexa health skills to ask questions such as "Alexa, pull up my blood glucose readings" or "Alexa, find me a doctor," and receive a prompt response from the voice assistant.

Amazon is able to add these skills because Amazon can now sign business associate agreements with health providers under HIPAA, which means third-party health developers who follow certain guidelines can meet the rules and requirements that govern how sensitive health information is transmitted and received. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is designed to protect patients in cases where their personal health information is shared with a health care organization, like a hospital.

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Christina Farr | @chrissyfarr

Published 9:02 AM ET Thu, 4 April 2019  Updated 12:15 PM ET Thu, 4 April 2019



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