Cedars-Sinai, Houston Methodist & more systems roll out Amazon Alexa skill to remotely check on patients

Amazon is launching a new skill for its Alexa voice assistant that will let hospital clinicians call and "drop in" on patients without physically entering their rooms, the company said Oct. 25. 

Five details: 

1. Hospitals including Boston Children's Hospital, Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai, Tampa, Fla.-based BayCare and Houston Methodist will deploy the new Alexa capability to select properties, according to the news release. 

2. The new technology, dubbed Alexa Smart Properties, is designed for healthcare providers and senior living facilities and works with Alexa compatible devices such as the Amazon Echo device. 

3. With Alexa Smart Properties, patients can communicate with their care staff, control devices in their room and get information like news or entertainment by asking the Alexa voice assistant. 

4. Participating hospitals will also have access to Alexa's calling and "Drop In" features, which let staff check on the patient without entering their room. Hospitals can also use the new skill to provide information specific to their facilities, such as notifications about schedule changes. 

"Voice is intuitive for patients, regardless of age or tech savviness," Peachy Hain, executive director of medical and surgical services at Cedars-Sinai, said in the news release. "Since it's so easy to operate, patients can use Alexa to connect with their care team and stay entertained as soon as they settle in, while care providers can streamline tasks to make more time to care for those patients. It's a total gamechanger for enhancing our hospital experience." 

5. The new Alexa update also lets hospitals and senior living communities build HIPAA-eligible skills, such as medication tracking, according to the news release.

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