Amazon Alexa is years away from linking patients to physicians

While Amazon announced Alexa was HIPAA-compliant earlier this month, the voice assistant is years away from connecting patients to physician, according to CNBC reporter Christina Farr.

Being HIPAA-compliant, Amazon can collaborate with hospitals and healthcare providers to manage users' protected health data to share personal information on an Echo device. However, users can't use the voice assistant to find physicians or therapists.

Amazon is working with app developers on an invite-only basis. The e-commerce giant has partnered with six developers, none of which are creating tools to link patients with physicians.

Experts are growing weary about using home speakers like the Echo or Google Home for medical consults as privacy issues grow, CNBC reports. Earlier this month, a report found thousands of Amazon employees were listening to snippets of conversations on Alexa to improve the device.

As of now, Amazon is focusing on nutrition coaching and tools to help users find nearby health services, reports CNBC. Experts say finding urgent care and basic follow up locations are less likely to cause harm to patients. The company is also working to enhance privacy.

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