Amazon Alexa: One Thing Needed Before Getting Into Health Care

Whether is for remote monitoring of sick patients or to help doctors take notes during visits, Amazon’s Alexa has plenty of opportunity in health care – however, it is missing one thing

 With Alexa, there is one big, important problem that needs to be taken care of: it is not yet HIPAA-compliant. This means that it does not meet the federal rules that protect patient’s privacy when it comes to their personal health data.

Amazon Alexa developers can build skills such as recommending nutritious food, but not to record patient’s lab results or other types of information in a clinical setting.

On Monday, Amazon acknowledged this issue at an event named the “diabetes challenge”, where it worked with a series of partners to promote use-cases for Alexa for patients with diabetes.

For the challenge, Amazon partnered up with drug maker Merck and strategy firm Luminary Labs.

“While Alexa and Lex (the technology powering Alexa) are not HIPAA-eligible, this (challenge) has provided us an opportunity to envision what is possible,” said Oxana Pickeral, Amazon web services’ health lead

It took some time for Amazon’s cloud service to become compliant so it could work with covered entities that manage personal health information. However, now it is the dominant cloud provider for health care.