‘Alexa, how do I treat migrane?’: Amazon voice assistant to offer health advice

by Lionel Casey

Britain’s kingdom-run fitness provider is teaming up with Amazon to offer scientific advice for not unusual ailments inclusive of migraines and flu through the tech massive’s voice assistant Alexa, aiming to help extra sufferers at home and reduce down on charges.

The plan is to present sufferers – specifically the elderly, blind and those unable to get admission to the net via conventional way – get right of entry to to statistics established by using the National Health Service (NHS) using voice commands, the authorities said.

The deal ought to ease stress at the NHS using lowering the want to go to a physician.

However, there are concerns that older human beings, which are used to telephonic or non-public interactions, would possibly locate it difficult to evolve to more moderen technology for healthcare offerings.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, stated smart gadgets ought to help older humans get admission to ordinary health statistics and advice, specifically if there has been an aid to be had to assist them in learning how to use them.

“Older people still have traditional ways of having the right statistics and recommendation, which include face to face and cellphone guide,” Abrahams stated. Five million human beings, elderly sixty-five and over have never used the net, she brought.

The deal marks the brand new circulate using Amazon into healthcare following its buy of online pharmacy PillPack last 12 months, and a tie-up with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co aimed toward slicing fitness fees for masses of thousands of their U.S. Personnel.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated hundreds of thousands of humans have been already asking Alexa and different voice assistants about fitness matters, and he wanted to ensure they acquired the very excellent advice in reaction.

He said the provider might be backed by using robust privacy policies to shield patient confidentiality.

“There is a clear protocol in the vicinity that Amazon has and that we have in the NHS,” he told BBC radio.

The NHS is a cherished group for many Britons, offering services from recurring consultations to existence-saving operations. But it is beneath growing monetary stress in the face of increasing affected person needs and price range constraints.

A standard practitioner (GP), often called a “family physician,” is typically the first port of name for someone feeling sick in Britain.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, stated voice-assisted technology ought to unfasten up more medical doctors’ appointments for sufferers who want them most.

“It can help some sufferers work out what type of care they need before thinking about whether to searching for face-to-face clinical help, specifically for minor illnesses that rarely want a GP appointment,” she said.

“But we have to be cautious not to create a ‘digital divide’ among those patients who can find the money for it and are capable of use it, and people who can not.”

Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, which includes Echo and Echo Dot variety in price from approximately 50 pounds ($ sixty-two) to more than 200 kilos.

The US agency’s set of rules uses information from the NHS website to provide answers to voice questions such as “Alexa, how do I deal with a migraine?” or “Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox.”

Technology, led via synthetic intelligence (AI) and significant information, is more and more being deployed in healthcare.

London-based Babylon Health says its AI era has outperformed most physicians in checks in assessing sickness signs.

Chatbot Florence, named after Florence Nightingale, the founding father of present-day nursing, permits patients to reveal health and well-being indicators via Kik, Skype, and Facebook Messenger.

In India, Practo, founded in 2008, acts as a one-stop store for sufferers booking appointments with medical doctors for online and face-to-face consultations.

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