Amazon’s Alexa Now Offers HIPAA-Compliant Skills

Amazon's Alexa Is Now HIPAA-Compliant

Amazon just entered a whole new market now that Alexa, its voice-activated digital assistant, is HIPAA-compliant, which it means it can handle patients’ sensitive information.

In a blog post, Amazon announced an invitation-only program that will enable developers to create healthcare skills for Alexa that are HIPAA-compliant. Rachel Jiang, head of health and wellness for Amazon Alexa, said select developers will be invited to build Alexa skills that transmit and receive protected health information, aiming to make it easier for consumers to manage their healthcare via voice.

Amazon also announced six new Alexa healthcare skills from healthcare providers, payors, pharmacy benefit managers and digital health coaching companies that are now operating in Amazon’s HIPAA-eligible environment.

“Every day, developers are inventing with voice to build helpful and convenient experiences for their customers,” wrote Jiang. “These new skills are designed to help customers manage a variety of healthcare needs at home simply using voice – whether it’s booking a medical appointment, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions, checking on the status of a prescription delivery and more.”

The new healthcare skills launched Thursday (April 4) include Express Scripts, which allows members to track medication orders and shipments; Cigna Health Today, which enables members to manage health improvement goals; My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, which lets parents update caregivers about recovery progress; Swedish Health Control and Atrium Health, which enables customers to find urgent care centers; and Livongo, which helps people manage chronic conditions. Jiang said the new skills are just the beginning, and that future skills will focus on making it easier for customers to manage healthcare using voice.

“Boston Children’s Hospital has long believed that voice technology has the potential to substantially improve the healthcare experience for both consumers and clinicians,” said John Brownstein, chief innovation officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. “The My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) skill, launching today, allows patients and caregivers to easily share recovery progress with their care team post-surgery. We believe it is just one example of how voice technology can extend the care and support of our patients beyond the four walls of the hospital.”