Amazon has teamed up with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to help elderly people, blind people and other patients who cannot easily search for health advice online to access health information through its AI-powered voice assistant Alexa.
From this week, Amazon’s algorithm is able to answer voice questions such as “Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?” and “Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox?” using information verified by the NHS website.
The Department of Health hopes the partnership will empower patients to take better control of their healthcare and reduce the pressure on the NHS.
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.
“Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we want to embrace the advances in technology to build a health and care system that is fit for the future and NHSX will drive this revolution to bring the benefits to every patient, clinician and carer.”
The UK government has set up a new unit called NHSX to boost the use of digital technologies in the UK health service.
The latest partnership supports its commitment to the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to make the NHS fit for the future.
“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,” added Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX.
“Part of our mission at NHSX is to give citizens the tools to access services and information directly, and partnerships such as this are an important part of achieving this.”