Parents With Basic Health Questions Can Use Amazon Echo

(Photo: Youtube, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Youtube, Creative Commons)

Amazon Echo, along with Alexa-enabled devices, has been integrated with a KidsMD feature that will allow parents to ask questions about their children’s health and other related issues.

Because of the new feature that has been developed by the Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) team at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), parents will be able to ask about such topics as common symptoms or medicine dosages, writes Anu Passary for Tech Times.

Started in April, KidsMD is the first health care skill for devices that are Alexa-enabled. Parents can say, for example, “Alexa, ask KidsMD about runny noses” to discover whether or not their child should visit a doctor.

“The KidsMD skill makes it easier to access medical information from Boston Children’s Hospital, a world-class medical institution. That access is important for all of our Alexa customers, and particularly parents. We’re thrilled to be working with Boston Children’s on such a unique and valuable skill. We now have over 500 Alexa skills, and we’re looking forward to adding more important skills like this for our customers,” said Rob Pulciani, Amazon Alexa director.

Though it may seem magical, the app for Alexa, the voice-powered home appliance, is tapping into the cloud-based information from BCH doctors. Along with answering questions, it also gives suggestions based on age or weight of the child when discussing over-the-counter-medicines.

Additionally, BCH wants to provide guidance on treatments that can be accomplished at the child’s home.

As time goes on, IDHA believes that Alexa-enabled devices will be used to interact verbally with BCH’s educational content. Nita Gujral, IDHA’s software development manager, foresees Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo, and Echo Dot being used for “intuitive health care delivery.”

BCH’s Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein notes that the hospital is attempting to extend medical knowledge through digital means. He says that making the knowledge and content available to a broader audience is a mission that is extremely important to the staff of the hospital, reports Jonah Comstock, writing for Healthcare IT News.

He also pointed out that if Alexa can inform the public about the weather, the news, music, and much more, there is also an opportunity to engage the public by answering basic medical queries in a speedy fashion. Though Alexa is not a substitute for person-to-person medical care, it can address simple issues that concern parents but do not necessarily require a visit to a pediatrician.

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, followed the roll-out of Amazon.com, Inc.’s Bluetooth speaker Amazon Echo. Alexa is easily activated by voice command and can be used to call a cab, get weather updates, order pizza, and everything in between, says Bidnessetc’s Mohid Ahmed.

The integration of KidsMD, says Pulciani, has made a way for parents to have an easier way to get a medical opinion without ever leaving home. This new skill is one of 500 Alexa skills available. Amazon officials hint that Alexa is going to give Apple, Inc’s Siri a run for her money.

Amazon’s new medical features for its Alexa have been created specifically to serve families with small children.