The Department of Health and Social Care have just announced a partnership between the NHS and Amazon.
The idea is to offer patients that can’t access the internet through traditional means, such as the elderly and visually impaired, an opportunity to search for NHS-verified information through voice commands.
Previously, the device offered advice based on popular responses. However, Alexa will now provide safe and reliable health advice drawn straight from NHS website to symptom-related questions through its voice-assisted technology. One of the goals is to give patients control over their own health and to reduce the burden on the NHS and GPs by providing information on common illnesses. The initiative also aims at making it easier for people to find trustworthy information on illnesses through a simple and accessible way.
Amazon’s algorithm will use information from the NHS website to answer questions such as “Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?”, “Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?”, and “Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox?”.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, commented: “We want to empower every patient to take better control of their healthcare and technology like this is a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists.”
Matthew Gould, Chief-Executive of NHSX, added: “The public need to be able to get reliable information about their health easily and in ways they actually use. By working closely with Amazon and other tech companies, big and small, we can ensure that the millions of users looking for health information every day can get simple, validated advice at the touch of a button or voice command.”
The partnership is already in action and those with the device at home are already able to access expert health advice.