Amazon is building a health and wellness team around Alexa, says GlobalData

By Paul Skeldon June 6, 2018 - 4:45 pm

“Alexa, should I be worried about this rash?” This could soon be a reality in the US, with Amazon reportedly building a team to incorporate its digital assistant with healthcare in the US, says analytics company GlobalData.

Alexa already has widespread reach with up to 11% of US consumers using it in their home and in September 2017, the company announced that basic health information and advice provided by Mayo Clinic would be available on the device.

“Users are now able to download the Mayo Clinic First Aid skill on their device, voice their concerns to the machine, which will then give answers to dozens of everyday health issues or other self-care instructions.”

– Mark Needham,Healthcare Analyst for GlobalData

Additionally, according to Harvard Business Review, the KidsMD skill, which allows parents to ask for guidance on common illnesses, has logged more than 100,000 interactions with Amazon’s voice assistant.

The Amazon team’s main job is to make their voice assistant more useful in the US healthcare field, an effort that requires working through regulations and data privacy requirements laid out by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. With the right compliance and licenses in place, Amazon could let customers share their medical records with Alexa-powered devices, which could then allow them to communicate with a medical professional from home, and share their sensitive medical records with qualified third parties.

Diabetes management, care for mothers and infants, and tools for the ageing population will also be reviewed by the team.

Amazon is already eyeing the pharmaceuticals supply business and wider healthcare market, with it being rumoured that not only does it want to take a big slice of the lucrative pharma distribution market, as well as selling drugs and medicines, it also wants an in into healthcare – no, not because of altruism, but because of the data it could generate.

“Amazon also has numerous other projects underway that are focused on taking a slice of the multi-trillion-dollar US healthcare industry. Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing division, has a team dedicated to serving health and pharmaceutical companies, and, on the e-commerce side, the marketplace group is reportedly looking at ways of getting into drug distribution.”

– Mark Needham,Healthcare Analyst for GlobalData

Image: Fotolia

  • james
    8 months ago

    if the US opium trade was still in effect, i’m sure amazon would be all over that too.
    they’ll just have to settle for alexa-prescribed legal opiods instead i suppose.

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