Amazon Alexa rolls out HIPAA-compliant service for developers

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Amazon Alexa rolls out HIPAA-compliant service for developers

The skills will helps users with answers for their healthcare-focused inquiries, such as checking on the status of a prescription delivery, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions, and booking a doctor's appointment.

Amazon's popular voice-controlled digital servant Alexa could soon be playing a big role in managing health and handling private patient data. By bringing HIPAA compliance to the Alexa Skills Kit, Amazon wants to remove those barriers for voice technologies.

Inc. AMZN, -0.38% unveiled new software on Thursday that would allow companies to develop voice tools capable of handling patient information covered under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), expanding the e-commerce giant's reach into the health space. Its new Alexa skill allows individuals in the ERAS program to provide their care teams with updates on recovery progress and get information about post-op appointments.

·Cigna Health Today(from health service company Cigna): Eligible employees with one of Cigna's large national accounts can now manage their health improvement goals and earn "personalised wellness incentives".

·Swedish Health Connect (from Providence St. Joseph Health, a healthcare system with 51 hospitals across 7 states and 829 clinics): Customers can find an urgent care centre near them and schedule a same-day appointment.

The six skills will be developed through Amazon's partnership with Swedish Health Connect, Atrium Health, Express Scripts, Boston Hospital's ERAS program, Livongo, and Cigna.

One of the six companies involved in the program is Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System), with a care continuum that includes nursing homes, home healthcare and hospice and palliative care. In a blog post today, the company announced that a number of new health skills can now be enabled on its hands-free speakers, making commands like "Alexa, ask Livongo for my last blood sugar reading" possible.

Amazon says it expects to open up the platform to other developers in the near future.

The healthcare skill publishers participating in Amazon's exclusive program are happy for having the ability to reach customers via voice technology.

"We have believed for long that voice technology has the potential to improve substantially the healthcare experience of consumers as well as clinicians".

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