Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Amazon Announces New Alexa Healthcare Skills

 



In an effort to help consumers keep better track of their own health, Amazon has announced new special Alexa skills that are in compliance with HIPAA.  This allows consumers to receive updates on different aspects of their health directly via Amazon Echo products utilizing the Alexa voice system.

Here is what Amazon announced:

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Alexa Skills Kit now enables select Covered Entities and their Business Associates, subject to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), to build Alexa skills that transmit and receive protected health information as part of an invite-only program. Six new Alexa healthcare skills from industry-leading healthcare providers, payors, pharmacy benefit managers, and digital health coaching companies are now operating in our HIPAA-eligible environment. In the future, we expect to enable additional developers to take advantage of this capability. If you are interested in getting updates, click here.

New Healthcare Skills
Every day developers are inventing with voice to build helpful and convenient experiences for their customers. These new skills are designed to help customers manage a variety of healthcare needs at home simply using voice – whether it’s booking a medical appointment, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions, checking on the status of a prescription delivery, and more.

The new healthcare skills that launched today are:
  • Express Scripts (a leading Pharmacy Services Organization): Members can check the status of a home delivery prescription and can request Alexa notifications when their prescription orders are shipped.
  • Cigna Health Today (by Cigna, the global health service company): Eligible employees with one of Cigna's large national accounts can now manage their health improvement goals and increase opportunities for earning personalized wellness incentives.
  • My Children's Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) (by Boston Children's Hospital, a leading children's hospital): Parents and caregivers of children in the ERAS program at Boston Children's Hospital can provide their care teams updates on recovery progress and receive information regarding their post-op appointments.
  • Swedish Health Connect (by Providence St. Joseph Health, a healthcare system with 51 hospitals across 7 states and 829 clinics): Customers can find an urgent care center near them and schedule a same-day appointment.
  • Atrium Health (a healthcare system with more than 40 hospitals and 900 care locations throughout North and South Carolina and Georgia): Customers in North and South Carolina can find an urgent care location near them and schedule a same-day appointment.
  • Livongo (a leading consumer digital health company that creates new and different experiences for people with chronic conditions): Members can query their last blood sugar reading, blood sugar measurement trends, and receive insights and Health Nudges that are personalized to them.
Voice as the Next Frontier for Conveniently Accessing Healthcare Services

Developers of the new healthcare skills are excited to enable their customers to access their healthcare services in the comfort of their own homes simply by asking Alexa. These skills are just the first step in making it easier for customers to manage their healthcare needs using just their voice – we’re excited to see what developers build next. Here’s what they had to say:
  • Express Scripts:“With our new Express Scripts skill, we are trying to make it easier for people to make better informed health care decisions. In particular, we believe voice technology, like Alexa, can make it easy for people stay on the right path by tracking the status of their mail order prescription, helping us further solve the costly and unhealthy problem of medication non-adherence.” - Mark Bini, Vice President of Innovation and Member Experience, Express Scripts.
  • Cigna:“With our industry-leading voice skills, we are meeting customers where they are – in their homes, in their cars - and making it simpler to create healthier habits and daily routines. Through our Amazon Alexa skill, customers can simply use voice to understand the full range of their health benefits and receive personalized wellness incentives for meeting their health goals, empowering them to take control of their total health.”- Stephen Cassell, Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Customer Communications, Cigna.
  • Boston Children's Hospital:“Boston Children’s Hospital has long believed that voice technology has the potential to substantially improve the healthcare experience for both consumers and clinicians. We began this journey with one of the first Amazon Alexa skills from a hospital four years ago and are thrilled to participate in the initial launch of Amazon Alexa’s HIPAA-eligible service for developers. The My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) skill, launching today, allows patients and caregivers to easily share recovery progress with their care team post-surgery. We believe it is just one example of how voice technology can extend the care and support of our patients beyond the four walls of the hospital.” – John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital.

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