Enthusiasts predicted the plan would relieve the pressure on hard-pressed GPs. Critics saw it as a sign of creeping privatisation and a data-protection disaster in waiting. Reactions to news last month that Amazon's voice-controlled digital assistant Alexa was to begin using NHS website information to answer health queries were many and varied. US-based healthcare tech analysts say the deal is just the latest of a series of recent moves that together reveal an audacious, long-term strategy on the part of Amazon. From its entry into the lucrative prescription drugs market and development of AI tools to analyse patient records, to Alexa apps that manage diabetes and data-driven experiments on how to cut medical bills, the $900bn global giant's determination to make the digital disruption of healthcare a central part of its future business model is becoming increasingly clear.
Not all voice assistants can handle the same requests. We put Siri, Alexa and Google to the test. LONDON -- Alexa will see you now. Britain's health care service is teaming up with Amazon's digital voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service's official website. Critics, however, warn about risks to data privacy.
In a world-first, Amazon has partnered with the UK's health service, the NHS. From this week, its voice-controlled device, Alexa, will give out health advice, and answer common questions such as'Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?' and'Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox?' In response to health-related queries, Alexa will now search the NHS Choices website for health information (and there you were thinking Amazon was all about Prime Day deals). The aim is to ease pressure on the NHS and help those who can't easily access information on the internet – such as the elderly or blind people. Will this partnership with Amazon really end up easing pressure on the health service, or will it lead to data protection issues and misdiagnoses? As we've previously explored, the use of voice interfaces is one of the fastest growing web design trends in recent years, but so far the news has been met with concerns over the appropriateness of using Alexa to deliver this kind of important and sensitive information.
The NHS has teamed up with Amazon to allow elderly people, blind people and other patients who cannot easily search for health advice on the internet to access the information through the AI-powered voice assistant Alexa. The health service hopes patients asking Alexa for health advice will ease pressure on the NHS, with Amazon's algorithm using information from the NHS website to provide answers to questions such as: "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?"; 'Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?'; and "Alexa what are the symptoms of chickenpox?" The Department of Health (DoH) said it would empower patients and hopefully reduce the pressure on the NHS by providing reliable information on common illnesses. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: "Technology like this is a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists."
Amazon has confirmed that its Alexa voice assistant sometimes stores your data indefinitely, even after any corresponding audio clips have been deleted. The admission comes after inquiries from US Senator Chris Coons, who asked the tech firm to explain what happens to voice records and data gathered by Alexa. The senator, a democrat, wrote to Amazon following a CNET investigation in May that revealed that the company retains voice records unless users delete them. The probe had also suggested that, regardless, written transcripts of those voice recordings may also be kept indefinitely. Amazon's device - along with Apple's Siri and, until recently, Google's Assistant - saves every single interaction a person has with the device, with some unintentional snippets also being recorded.