The web company is reportedly looking at expanding into the health-care sector
By Katrina Caruso
It seems that Amazon is planning to expand its activities into health care. The business news website CNBC recently reported that the company has put together a “health and wellness” team within the division responsible for the Echo device and its virtual voice assistant, Alexa.
The report was based on leaked documents and Amazon has refused to comment, but it appears that Alexa may one day be able to help with health care, specifically in the areas of diabetes management, motherhood and childcare, and aging. One problem the company will face—and is apparently working on addressing—is the question of patient confidentiality and data privacy.
There are already quite a few ways in which Alexa can be used as a health tool.
Soon, Americans will be able to receive answers to health-care questions from Alexa via a “skill,” as Alexa’s capabilities are known, from the health services company Cigna. “Answers by Cigna” will allow anyone in America with one of Amazon’s Echo devices to ask the assistant questions related to insurance premiums, deductibles, and more.
Since September 2017, users have been able to download a skill for Alexa called “Mayo Clinic First Aid,” which uses the Mayo Clinic’s health information and advice. And since March 2017, Alexa has been able to answer health-related questions with information provided by WebMD.