The contract between the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and ecommerce giant Amazon -- for a health information licensing partnership involving its Alexa voice AI -- has been released following a Freedom of Information request. The government announced the partnership this summer. But the date on the contract, which was published on the gov.uk contracts finder site months after the FOI was filed, shows the open-ended arrangement to funnel nipped-and-tucked health advice from the NHS' website to Alexa users in audio form was inked back in December 2018. The contract is between the UK government and Amazon US (Amazon Digital Services, Delaware) -- rather than Amazon UK. Nor is it a standard NHS Choices content syndication contract.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has announced what it claims is a world first: a partnership with Amazon's Alexa to offer health advice from the NHS website. Britons who ask Alexa basic health questions like "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" The partnership does not add significantly to Alexa's skill-set, but it is an interesting step for the NHS. The UK's Department of Health (DoH) says it hopes the move will reduce the pressure on health professionals in the country, giving people a new way to access reliable medical advice. It will also benefit individuals with disabilities, like sight impairments, who may find it difficult to use computers or smartphones to find the same 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."
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.
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.