Since the advent of voice technology, healthcare innovators have seen the potential for using the technology in the healthcare setting. However, meeting HIPAA requirements for patient privacy was a sticking point in developing voice applications for patient use. Amazon recently announced that its Alexa voice platform supports HIPAA-compliant services.
Amazon is working with several select organizations to bring voice applications into patient care. Among the organizations participating in the invitation-only program are:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. Cedars-Sinai was the site of the pilot program that confirmed Alexa’s HIPAA compliance using the Aiva voice platform that was developed as part of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator. Aiva, powered by Alexa, is paired with an Amazon Echo device and allows patients hands-free control of technology in their hospital rooms and a means to communicate with their healthcare team. The Aiva platform is also compatible with Google Home.
- Boston Children’s Hospital. The hospital developed KidsMD, one of the first Alexa healthcare skills, four years ago. It is currently working on an Alexa platform that will enable post-op patients to communicate with their healthcare team once they’ve been discharged from the hospital.
- Livongo. Livongo, which got its start as a diabetes care management company and has since branched out to other chronic conditions, uses Alexa to help its members better manage their health. They can ask Alexa what their last blood sugar reading was and receive other information related to their condition, such as meal preparation and exercise.
- Express Scripts. With Alexa, Express Scripts customers can track the status of their mail-order prescriptions, among other tasks.
Using voice assistants and smart technology can help patients with challenges that prevent them from using a keyboard or touchscreen. They can also help to provide services to patients recovering from illness or surgery, those needing help with managing chronic conditions and seniors.
Kathy Divis, President of Greystone.Net, says, “Over the last few months, we’ve been watching organizations that are testing the waters of voice applications, but now, with HIPAA-compliant options, we expect some big splashes soon as health systems and their patients discover the convenience of voice search and service.”
Is your organization using voice assistant technology in any way?