NHS ties up with Amazon to make Alexa Healthy

Henrietta Brewer
July 12, 2019

Amazon's Alexa will soon be answering medical questions asked by United Kingdom users, thanks to a partnership with the country's National Health Service (NHS). A lawsuit filed last month in US federal court alleged that Amazon is violating laws in eight states by recording children without consent through Alexa devices.

The effort is part of a 1 billion pound initiative to transform digital innovation in the NHS.

Mr Hancock said technology advances - which allow Alexa to answer questions such as, "What are the symptoms of flu?' - would 'give back the gift of time" to Global Positioning System.

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 Global Positioning System and pharmacists.

The use of voice-assisted technology is growing rapidly in healthcare.

However, the move to team up Amazon and the NHS has been met with scepticism.

With voice-search technology on the rise, the DOH's decision will likely benefit elderly people and those with visual impairments, who may otherwise struggle to look up such such information on devices with screens.

According to the BBC, Big Brother Watch Director Silkie Carlo said: "Any public money spent on this terrible plan rather than frontline services would be a breathtaking waste". "Healthcare is made inaccessible when trust and privacy is stripped away, and that's what this awful plan would do", Carlo said. It's a data protection disaster waiting to happen'.

According to CNET, the company won't share data from the NHS program with third parties, nor will it sell or recommend products based on health information.

"Customer trust is of the utmost importance, and Amazon takes privacy seriously", the company said in a statement, adding that users control their voice history and can delete recordings.

The UK government has set up a new unit called NHSX to boost the use of digital technologies in the UK health service.

But a new partnership with the NHS means Alexa will now give answers based on information from the health service website, which has been verified by health professionals.

However, when the Daily Mail tested the device, it found that Alexa failed to provide answers to a number of questions.

However, she claims that the scheme should ensure giving advice that is safe, or else it could prevent people from seeking proper medical help and create even more pressure on overstretched GP service.

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