When it comes to medical advice, just like the device testing it’s best left to the experts. However, with a growing population burdening the budgets of the NHS, a growing reliance on self diagnosis tools as a preliminary healthcare step is growing in importance. However, while services like NHS’s website may be fuss-free to operate for some individuals, for others it can be complicated to use.
That’s part of the idea behind a new collaboration between the NHS and Amazon to bring healthcare advice to their Alexa enabled Echo devices, according to The Guardian. Offering a service that is particularly catered to elderly, blind people and others who are less able to search for help and advice online easily, with Alexa’s algorithm using the NHS website to answer healthcare questions. A question such as “Alexa, how should I treat a migraine?” therefore would draw information from from the relevant page on the NHS website.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, explained that such a team up was a world first: “Technology like this is a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists,” he said. However, it was made clear that the Department of Health nor the NHS would be providing Amazon devices for patients. Though the devices cost £24.99, the service can also be accessed through a free app available through most smart phones.
By 2020, it’s estimated that half of all internet searches will be made by voice, signalling a huge shift in how we interact with technology.