Amazon Alexa users can now receive medication reminders and make voice requests for prescription refills, Amazon announced on Tuesday (Nov. 26).
Medication management features are currently being trialed with customers of the Giant Eagle Pharmacy chain, which is based in over 200 supermarkets. The project is being launched in partnership with healthcare solutions firm Omnicell.
“We’ll learn a lot from this initial launch and we’ll continue to evolve the experience and expect to expand to additional pharmacies next year,” said Rachel Jiang, Head of Alexa Health and Wellness, in the announcement about the new features.
To tap into medication management, customers have to enable the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill and link their account. Alexa will then review prescriptions with customers and initiate reminders around users’ preferences.
Earlier this year, Amazon launched a HIPAA-eligible environment for skill developers as a way to ensure a foundation of privacy and security.
“These medication management features use multiple layers of verification to ensure that only you are able to access your prescription information via Alexa,” said Jiang. “If the voice profile or personal passcode does not match with the account, information will not be relayed.”
Amazon said that all interactions with this skill are redacted in the Alexa app to maintain privacy.
“We’re thrilled to help our Giant Eagle Pharmacy patients more easily integrate prescription management into their everyday lives with the introduction of the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill,” said Giant Eagle Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Jim Tsipakis.
He added that the company always works to make care as easy as possible. “This unique collaboration with Amazon has enabled us to utilize voice technology to do just that.”
Jiang also pointed out that voice “removes barriers and simplifies daily tasks.” This Alexa feature frees people from having to remember what medications they need to take.
Danny Sanchez, vice president and general manager, population health solutions, Omnicell said the feature provides “… greater independence for older adults” and will ultimately “ … streamline pharmacy workflow.”
Amazon launched a health and wellness team to work through regulations and data privacy requirements laid out by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).