Amazon's Alexa will offer medical advice to United Kingdom users

Henrietta Strickland
July 12, 2019

Amazon's algorithm uses information from the NHS website to provide answers to questions like: "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" or "Alexa, what are the symptoms of a flu?"

This has been a long time coming.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said: "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". Getting pointers on treating the common cold from the couch could save trips to the doc or pharmacy drop-ins.

Britain's health care service is teaming up with Amazon's digital voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service's official website. Amazon has tied with NHS to make UK Healthy.

The voice-assisted technology will help patients-especially the elderly, blind, and non-Internet-connected-to get professional help in seconds. Maybe, just maybe, this could also save some from going down an online rabbit hole into rubbish health forums.

Some critics of the collaboration with Amazon have raised concerns about privacy and the tech giant's access to patient information.

The move is part of a technological revolution in the NHS. "They will be privy to sensitive health data, and so it must be made clear to the public how our data will be protected".

Voice search is the next big thing.

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.

The new partnership has been spearheaded by NHSX, an NHS body set up to bring digital technology to patients. This should make it much easier to get relief.

'It's all about people, it's about having people at the top of NHS trusts who get that technology will give back the gift of time to their clinicians and save lives and improve the lives of their patients'.

Britons who ask Alexa basic health questions like "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" and "Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?" will be given answers vetted by NHS health professionals and now available on its website.

'However, it is vital that independent research is done to ensure that the advice given is safe, otherwise it could prevent people seeking proper medical help and create even more pressure on our overstretched GP service'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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