Economy

NHS health information available through Amazon's Alexa

NHS health information available through Amazon's Alexa”

You can now ask Amazon's Alexa for official NHS health information, knowing that it comes from the official source.

With voice search increasing rapidly - and expectations that by 2020, half of all searches will be made through voice-assisted technology - the government said that Amazon's technology has the potential to reduce the pressure on the NHS and Global Positioning System.

The NHS has teamed up with Amazon to allow elderly people, blind people and other patients who can not easily search for health advice on the internet to access the information through the AI-powered voice assistant Alexa.

Britain's National Health Service is teaming up with Amazon to provide health information through the tech giant's voice assistant Alexa, the government said here on Wednesday.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that Amazon has been programming Alexa algorithms to provide answers to questions such as "How do I treat migraine?"

The new plan was regarded as "potential", especially to treat minor ailments, according to a statement by Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of Global Positioning System.

The eyecatching announcement comes just a week after the launch of NHSX, a new division dedicated to accelerating the uptake of digital technology across the health service to help healthcare professionals and improve patient services.

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

It's hoped the world-first collaboration will empower people to take greater control of their health and care.

Adi Latif is registered blind and works for AbilityNet, a charity which helps disabled people use technology.

The 38-year-old, from Camden, north London, said: "Convenience is king and it's brilliant to know I can ask Alexa about various illnesses and receive credible, NHS-verified information".

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, described the idea as "interesting", but said independent research needed to be done to ensure that the advice given is safe and that the new technology does not make access to care harder for vulnerable patients.

Voice-assisted technology not only offers a certain level of companionship for those who go long stints without company, but it can give people, who may otherwise not be able to use the Internet fully, accessibility to what is a huge part of society.

Commenting on the Alexa-NHS tie-up, NHSX chief exec Gould 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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