Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa could change the way care is delivered

Alexa can order your groceries, hail you a ride and tell you how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon (it’s three). Now, the Amazon virtual assistant can also give you medical advice and look up and recite clinical information. Just as consumers are turning to voice-activated virtual assistants for tasks they previously performed on smartphones, healthcare providers and patients alike are beginning to do the same using devices from Amazon, Google and others that respond to a human voice. Advertisement Information from WebMD, for example, is available via Alexa, as is medical advice from Healthtap’s Doctor A.I. Another tool, called One Drop, lets diabetes patients track their blood sugar information by telling it to Alexa.Other pilot programs, run by hospitals, are in place so patients can ask Alexa questions about their health and providers can ask the digital assistant questions about protocols and other clinical information.Although technological and HIPAA-related hurdles lie ahead, those types of changes stand to transform the way we interact with health information, making it more accessible and less onerous to use.Now, with the tech industry singing the praises of voice as the next best interface, healthcare is joining the chorus as providers seek to boost patient…


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