NHS Medical Advice Will Soon Be Available Via Amazon’s Alexa

/ 4 years ago
NHS Medical Advice Will Soon Be Available Via Amazon's Alexa

The UK government and Amazon are teaming up to make NHS advice readily available to citizens.

Using Amazon’s Alexa AI voice assistant, blind and elderly patients will soon be able to get answers to their medical questions quickly. Completely in the privacy of their own home. With just an Alexa-powered device on hand. This includes Echo devices or even a smartphone.

This is especially useful for those with disabilities or mobility issues as well. No need to travel or booking an appointment.

NHS medical treatments

This move also minimizes the chance that users get bad advice. Especially those who are using the internet to diagnose their health issues. After all, there are plenty of questionable web sites out there. For many users who are not as experienced surfing online, it can be a minefield that is very difficult to navigate, just to get the proper advice.

What About User Health Information Privacy?

Amazon’s algorithm uses information from the NHS website to provide answers to questions such as, “How do I treat a migraine?” and, “What are the symptoms of chickenpox?”

This of course, brings up the issue of privacy as Amazon could be collecting health data on those using the service. However, according to Amazon they will keep all information confidential, in accordance with local health and privacy laws.

NHS Medical Advice Will Soon Be Available Via Amazon's Alexa

“All data was encrypted and kept confidential,” says a spokesperson. “Customers are in control of their voice history and can review or delete recordings.”

What Are The Critics Saying?

Civil liberty group Big Brother Watch is not convinced. According to Director Silkie Carlo, this plan is a “breathtaking waste”. He insists this is not a good alternative to spending public money on frontline services.

“Healthcare is made inaccessible when trust and privacy is stripped away,” he adds. “That’s what this terrible plan would do, it’s a data protection disaster waiting to happen.”

What do you think? Can Amazon be trusted with our healthcare data?

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