Big Tech Health: Amazon is deploying Alexa in hospitals to listen and talk to doctors

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Oct 26, 2021

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BIG TECH has been planning to take over in the health sector. There are now signs there’s major tech adoption in hospitals. Amazon is one of the companies that is ready for this move.

Amazon’s Alexa is moving into hospitals. Yesterday, the company announced that it will now support scaled launches of its devices inside both health-care systems and senior living facilities.

“When the pandemic first changed all of our lives, we had a number of health-care institutions reach out to us and ask if there was a way we could help with some of the challenges they were having, particularly related to shortage of personal protective equipment,” says Aaron Rubenson, VP of Amazon Alexa.

That kicked off a roughly year-long pilot of Amazon Alexa inside care facilities, such as hospitals. Doctors used Alexa’s intercom-like feature to communicate with patients without having to go into their rooms and to conduct check-ins. Using Alexa to conduct rounds meant nurses and doctors could more judiciously use protective gear when it was in short supply.

Hospitals in the US are beginning to make use of Amazon Alexa.

Hospitals that are using Amazon Alexa include Northwell Health, Cedars-Sinai, BayCare, and Houston Methodist. Now Amazon, through its Amazon Properties programme, is making Echo devices and the Alexa assistant available to hospitals broadly. Amazon already makes the Echo available to hotels, apartment buildings, and vacation rentals, and recently announced plans for a custom “Hey Disney” service for Walt Disney World’s resorts.

In hospitals, Rubenson says, the devices allows patients to send messages and requests to the nursing staff, rather than hitting the call button every time they need something. It also enables nurses and doctors to communicate with patients through its “Drop In” feature.

It’s a matter of time before similar applications are applied in South Africa.

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