Amazon Alexa now provides NHS health advice

Amazon Echo bedsideAmazon Alexa will now be able to provide people in the UK with expert health information thanks to a partnership with the National Health Service (NHS), the government has announced.

The AI assistant will begin automatically pulling information from the NHS website when users ask for health-related advice, saying voice commands such as “Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?”, “Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?”, and “Alexa, what are the symptoms of chickenpox?”.

The deal with Amazon is part of the NHS’ plan to make more services available digitally and it has turned to voice in the knowledge that 50 per cent of all searches are expected to be made through voice-assisted technology by next year.

For those concerned about their data, Amazon has said it will not share information with third parties and users are able to control their voice history and review or delete recordings.

“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,” said Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care.

“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.”