LONDON – The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) announced a partnership with Amazon Wednesday. The partnership will see Alexa supply NHS-verified health information to users.
Alexa, How do I Treat a Migraine?
The UK’s Department of Health wants people to use tools such as Alexa to get information on common health issues. The aim is to reduce pressure on the NHS. For example, users can ask Alexa things such as ways to treat a migraine or the symptoms of the flu instead of going to a GP. Information is supplied via the NHS website.
Recent news about Alexa storing user data is likely to prompt some privacy concerns about this move. 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 GPs and pharmacists.
Apple sees health as a key sector to be in too. We have already seen some of its products help people. Apple Watches identified heart conditions and told the US to go to the hospital.
NHS Innovation Unit
The project comes from a unit called NHSX. It works to develop innovative ways to use technology within the health service. Its CEO Matthew Gould commented:
The public need to be able to get reliable information about their health easily and in ways they actually use. By working closely with Amazon and other tech companies, big and small, we can ensure that the millions of users looking for health information every day can get simple, validated advice at the touch of a button or voice command.