Amazon's Alexa to offer voice skill for therapy

Amazon Alexa will launch a skill this summer that can connect users with a live, human therapist, CNBC reports.

The Alexa skill, called The Difference, is the voice assistant's first skill for mental therapy. Individuals with an Amazon Echo device can use The Difference to connect with a therapist within 30 minutes. The new service is still in beta.

The Difference is designed to help users manage and cope with "surface-level," issues, and mental health professionals told CNBC that more scientific research needs to be done to determine whether mental health apps could serve as an effective replacement to in-person therapy appointments, according to the report.

Earlier this month, Amazon released Alexa skills that allow invited healthcare organizations to transmit and receive patients' health data under HIPAA regulation.

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