Amazon's Alexa is now HIPAA compliant

Amazon unveiled software for its voice assistant Alexa that allows healthcare organizations to transmit and receive patients' protected health information, according to an April 4 company blog post.

The new healthcare skills allow customers to use Alexa-enabled devices for tasks such as scheduling medical appoints, checking on the status of prescriptions and accessing hospital post-discharge instructions.

Alexa's skills are HIPAA-compliant and can be accessed by healthcare providers, payers, pharmacy benefit managers and digital health companies as part of an invite-only program. Amazon has partnered with the following six healthcare organizations: Livongo, Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health, Boston Children's Hospital, Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., Express Scripts and Cigna.  

"Voice is going to be a big part of the future in all areas of our lives, including health and healthcare," Providence St. Joseph Health Chief Digital Officer Aaron Martin said in a news release emailed to Becker's Hospital Review. "We're excited to be one of the first health systems in the U.S. to build Alexa skills that help our patients connect to our providers and get faster access to care."

To use the new Alexa skills at Providence St. Joseph, patients can simply ask Alexa to open Providence's health app, and Alexa will suggest appointment times within the next day at a clinic closest to the patient's home. Individuals can also cancel appointments through the new Alexa skill.

At Livongo, a digital health startup aimed at supporting people with chronic conditions, customers using Alexa can ask the voice assistant to read their latest blood sugar reading and blood sugar measurement trends as well as provide health insights personally individualized for the user.

To access the full report, click here.

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