Medicine

Amazon Alexa HIPAA Skills Come to the Device

Amazon Alexa HIPAA Skills Come to the Device

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.

Less than two months after MedCity speculated whether Amazon would release a HIPAA-compliant Echo device, the tech giant announced that select skills for Alexa - the voice-activated personal assistant service powering those devices - are indeed HIPAA-compliant.

Express Scripts: Users can ask Alexa about their prescription status and request notifications.

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.

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.

Atrium Health, a health-care system with more than 40 hospitals and 900 locations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, launched a similar tool on Thursday. While healthcare companies have previously created Alexa skills (such as talking people through CPR procedures), the lack of compliance with the landmark privacy rule was a significant roadblock to making tools patients could find useful.

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It has created a program that lets patients in North and SC find an urgent care center or hospital location and schedule an appointment.

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

Amazon's voice assistant has gained several skills that will allow consumers to ask questions such as "Alexa, pull up my blood glucose readings" and get prompt responses, CNBC reported.

"In the future, we expect to enable additional developers to take advantage of this capability", Jiang wrote.

Commenting on the launch, Mark Bini, vice president of Innovation and Member Experience, Express Scripts said: "With our new Express Scripts skill, we are trying to make it easier for people to make better informed health care decisions".

The healthcare skill publishers participating in Amazon's exclusive program are happy for having the ability to reach customers via voice technology.