NHS builds partnership with Amazon Alexa for health advice

Latest partnership with Amazon Alexa suggests of NHS’ keen acceptance to technology. The Government recently announced that Amazon Alexa will be a source of an expert health advice to people.

The voice technology will automatically search for NHS choices of websites on health-related tips, when prompted by people in the UK. According to NHS source person, the new development would provide a useful support and even curb NHS demand.

Owning to reports, the partnership was first announced last year and latest news suggest NHS was urging further partnership settlements with Microsoft for a similar health advice programme.

The latest programme works on basis of an algorithm used by Amazon. The algorithm thus uses information from the NHS website and provides answers to people’s questions: “What are the symptoms of chickenpox?” or “How do I treat a migraine?”

According to a statement by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, he said it was appropriate for NHS to ‘embrace’ technology. He predicted this would in return also lessen the pressure on “our hard-working GPs and pharmacists”. “We want to empower every patient to take better control of their healthcare,” Hancock added.

Moreover, Hancock stated that the recent plan was the latest step of a technological revolution in the NHS. In his statement he also spoke of the government’s unit of NHSX, which propelled digital technologies in the healthcare service, while he also touched upon developments that were already in use, such as the expansion of electronic prescribing and use of AI for scan analysis.

The new plan was regarded as ‘potential’, especially to treat minor ailments, according to a statement by Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs. However, she also urged that not everyone was comfortable with the frequent use of voice technology and neither could everyone afford it. Moreover she also urged independent research by people, in order to ‘prevent people seeking proper medical help and create even more pressure’.