Patients Can Use the New Alexa Healthcare Skill to Manage Their Medications

Amazon’s Alexa now offers a new healthcare skill that patients could utilize in managing their prescribed medications and buying prescription refills.

At the start of this year, Amazon said that it has created a HIPAA-eligible setting for skill developers that integrates the required safety measures to comply with the specifications of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Regulations. Amazon created an invite-only platform for a select team of skill developers to make new skills that can be beneficial to patients.

The new skill is a product of a joint effort of Amazon and Omnicell, a medicine management firm. Amazon approached Omnicell and proposed to the company to generate the new skill after noticing that numerous Alexa users used their tools to create medication reminders. Amazon had obtained responses from a number of users who asked for enhancements to be made to the reminders feature to permit them to put several reminders a day for taking their medicines.

At first, the new Alexa feature will be accessible to clients of the Giant Eagle pharmacy, which manages more than 200 pharmacies all through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. With the new skill, patients can place reminders for taking their prescription drugs, look at their present prescription medications, and buy prescription refills from Giant Eagle just by giving voice commands to their Alexa devices.

The new skill comes with a selection of privacy and security protections to avert unauthorized access and improper use. After allowing the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill and associating their account, users must create a voice profile and input a PIN. Alexa will identify a user through their voice profile, however, it is required that they provide their PIN before relaying any information. Healthcare associated information is also censored in the app to keep privacy. Voice recordings are reviewed and deleted at any time via the Alexa app, Privacy Settings, or by giving voice commands following authentication.

According to VP and general manager of Omnicell, Danny Sanchez, this recent technology is only the start, as we keep on identifying easy to use pharmacy steps that voice-powered devices can execute in real life to keep the patient at the heart of care and improve pharmacy workflow.

With the initial skill release, Amazon will have useful data that can be employed to enhance the customer experience. More pharmacy chains will be added in the New Year.