Amazon's digital assistant could soon do more than just turn on your lights or tell you the weather. The e-commerce giant has signaled a major leap into healthcare for Alexa, by rolling out an invite-only program for developers to create their own skills around health and medicine. It would allow users to ask Alexa to book a doctor's appointment, find an urgent care center and check for updates on prescription refills. Amazon's digital assistant could soon do more than just turn on your lights or tell you the weather. Amazon, which launched the program on Thursday, said the skills are all compliant with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which ensures that personal health care information is protected.
Alexa's involvement in healthcare is about to extend well beyond putting Echo speakers in hospital rooms. Amazon has unveiled the first-ever HIPAA-compliant Alexa skills, letting you use the voice assistant to take care of sensitive medical issues. Joseph Health's skill can book a same-day appointment, for example, while Cigna and Express Scripts have introduced skills that respectively track wellness incentives and manage prescriptions. Livongo, meanwhile, has a skill for diabetics that can provide blood glucose readings and health tips. Other skills are coming from Atrium Health, Boston Hospital's post-surgery program and Swedish Health Connect.
Amazon may be known as the "everything store," but the company's tendrils extend far beyond ecommerce. On Thursday, Amazon said Alexa-enabled devices can now handle customers' sensitive medical data, and it teased the release of a new kit that would allow approved outside developers to build Alexa skills that access users' private health information, paving the way for the voice assistant to play a bigger role in health care. With the announcement came the release of new skills giving Alexa the ability to relay and store blood sugar measurements from internet-connected monitoring devices, help schedule doctors' appointments, pass on post-op instructions from hospitals, and provide prescription delivery updates by securely accessing customers' private medical information. As part of the announcement, Amazon said it had committed to protect personal health information according to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which protects the privacy of medical records. Alexa's health and wellness team had been working to obtain HIPAA compliance for months.
Amazon ( NASDAQ: AMZN) has introduced a new healthcare application which interfaces with electronic health records and significantly improves patient and clinician interaction. Amazon Transcribe Medical digitally converts speech ( patient and medical professional conversations) via a microphone feed to text for inclusion within clinical documentation and other healthcare data records. Amazon Transcribe Medical can accurately process spoken dialogue plus medical and pharmacological descriptions and clinical terminology aligned with medical professional and patient discussions. The application can populate electronic health records ( EHR) that is also referred to as electronic medical record ( EMR) which healthcare professionals and their provider organizations use to record and manage patient data. In healthcare and an array of other industries, advances in voice recognition and transcription technology are widely welcomed and highly anticipated.
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) -- once discussed in concept but with few practical applications -- is now a reality in practically every aspect of today's world. Name an industry, and you can be sure that AI applications play a part in its operations. The use of AI is one of the fastest-growing trends in marketing today. But from what I've seen as the president of a digital marketing agency that works in the health care and wellness sector, AI is having the biggest impact in health care marketing. The proof is in the dollars: The national AI health care market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021.