Medicine

Amazon Alexa to offer NHS health advice

Amazon Alexa to offer NHS health advice

Although a non-emergency medical helpline is active (accessed by dialling 111) plus an on-line system, health officials are keen to explore other ways by which the United Kingdom population can access medical services.

According to a spokesperson from health service, Robbie Gordon, the agreement will not be exclusive to Amazon: the government plans to work with other providers offering similar voice recognition technologies.

A release on Gov UK states that the technology will help patients, especially the elderly, blind and those who can not access the internet through traditional means, to get professional, NHS-verified health information in seconds, through simple voice commands.

Experts have predicted that half of all searches for information will be via voice-assisted technology by 2020. For example, you will be able to ask your Echo device, "What are the symptoms of flu?"

Britain's health agency is teaming up with Amazon's digital voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the agency's official website.

The move has the potential to significantly reduce pressure on hospitals and Global Positioning System.

On the news, Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX said: "The public need to be able to get reliable information about their health easily and in ways they actually use".

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More and more people are abandoning websites in favour of voice devices that use algorithms to scour online content and come up with answers in seconds.

Moreover she also urged independent research by people, in order to "prevent people seeking proper medical help and create even more pressure".

He said: "Convenience is king and it's brilliant to know I can ask Alexa about various illnesses and receive credible, NHS-verified information".

United Kingdom residents with Amazon Alexa can now search the National Health Service (NHS) website using voice commands, which should raise questions about privacy and data protection, as well as who takes responsibility for ensuring the information is accurate.

However, there are concerns that older people, who are used to telephonic or personal interactions, might find it hard to adapt to newer technologies for healthcare services.

"It's a data protection disaster waiting to happen".

"Amazon is a company with a worrying track record when it comes to the way they handle their users' data", said Eva Blum-Dumontet, a researcher at Privacy International.