Integrating Amazon Alexa into healthcare could lead to better patient engagement and increased compliance with treatment regimens

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By utilizing its Alexa devices and apps, Amazon has the potential to bring more patient-focused care to help people with chronic disease management such as diabetes and heart failure, connect their health data with medical professionals, and enable integration with other devices and apps, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Amazon is teaming up with Omron Healthcare to integrate Omron’s blood pressure (BP) monitor with Amazon Alexa in a bet to bring its voice technology into healthcare, according to a CNBC interview.

Dr Edit Kovalcsik, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Managing Analyst for GlobalData, comments: “Despite the wide availability of mobile health apps—for example, BP control through smartphone technology—there is a need for additional, more patient focused strategies to improve BP control. Research shows that patient engagement and communication between patients and healthcare providers is an essential part of improving patient compliance.”

Virtual care solutions involving the patient whilst connecting them with physicians and AI, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in August 2018, were applauded innovations among cardiologists.

Alexa can connect with Omron’s Evolv wireless BP monitor and mobile app, and among other services, it can remind patients to take their BP. However, helping with BP monitoring is only the start of making the most of Alexa’s talents, as according to a CNBC source, Amazon also plans to bring Alexa voice technology to provide services to new mothers, the elderly, and people with diabetes.

Omron used the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to connect its BP monitor with the Amazon voice assistant. The ASK is a collection of self-service APIs tools, documentation, and code samples, which is available for developers to leverage quickly and easily to integrate their services with Alexa.

Dr Kovalcsik adds: “Adaptation of Alexa voice service in a broad range of healthcare solutions could lead to better patient engagement and increased compliance with treatment regimens whilst freeing some of the healthcare resources.”

An increasing number of people are dealing with chronic diseases, placing a growing pressure on healthcare cost and resources. Despite great discoveries in research and technology, currently, digital adaptation lags in healthcare compared to other businesses.

Dr Kovalcsik concludes: “As its strategic moves are revealed, it is becoming apparent that Amazon is progressively addressing the most critical issues of the healthcare industry, which currently slow its successful digital transformation, and these include a growing demand for more patient-centric healthcare whilst resources remain insufficient.”

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