Amazon Launches New HIPAA-Compliant Alexa Healthcare Skills

Samara Rosenfeld
APRIL 04, 2019
Amazon Alexa

Amazon today announced that the Alexa Skills Kit now enables select covered entities, subject to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to build Alexa skills that transmit and receive protected health information as part of an invite-only program.  

The Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service application programming interfaces, tools, documentation and code samples to help users build voice experiences or skills that make everyday tasks faster and easier.

Now, six new Alexa healthcare skills from providers, payors and digital health coaching companies now operate in a HIPAA-eligible environment. The skills are designed to help customers manage healthcare needs at home by using their voice, whether it’s booking an appointment, communicating with clinicians and checking on the status of a prescription delivery.

The healthcare skills are called Express Scripts, Cigna Health Today, My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, Swedish Health Connect, Atrium Health and Livongo.

The Express Scripts skill allows members to check the status of home delivery prescriptions and can request Alexa notifications when their prescription orders are shipped. With Cigna Health Today, eligible employees can manage their health improvement goals and increase opportunities for earning personalized wellness incentives.

Boston Children’s Hospital, Providence St. Joseph Health and Atrium Health are the health systems that were invited to launch healthcare skills today.

My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery — by Boston Children’s Hospital — lets parents and caregivers of children in the program provide their care team updates on recovery progress and receive information regarding post-operative appointments.

Swedish Health Connect — by Providence St. Joseph Health — helps customers find an urgent care center near them and schedule a same-day appointment, just like Atrium Health’s does for customers in North and South Carolina.

For Livongo, a digital health company that creates solutions for people with chronic conditions, members can ask about their last blood sugar reading, blood sugar measurement trends and get insights and health nudges that are personalized to them.

The announcement is big news for the technology industry, as there have been many privacy fears with Alexa moving into healthcare.

Amazon Alexa expects to enable additional developers to access the capability to build healthcare skills, which could increase access to healthcare services.

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