Medical Group Debuts Alexa Skill for Getting Care
Healthcare provider network Westmed Medical Group has launched an Alexa skill that enables potential patients to get health information and seek care by asking the voice assistant. The My Westmed skill is part of the shift in healthcare over the last couple of years to take advantage of advances in conversational AI and voice tech in brand new ways.
Westmed Medical Group decided to begin developing an Alexa skill after dealing with the strain placed on their resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of requiring people to answer the phone and set up appointments or answer questions, the group turned to Amazon’s voice assistant to aid them. The skill will help patients set up COVID-19 testing and clearance at urgent care centers, helping locate them and checking wait times. Users can also ask Alexa to find a provider in the group with a specific specialty and schedule a time to come in for an appointment. The skill also comes with health advice and updates on COVID-19 provided by Westmed when asked for tips for healthy living.
“Keeping pace with the latest technological innovations is a priority at Westmed. We know that in this increasingly digitized world, it’s important to meet our patients where they are,” Westmed Medical Group CEO Anthony Viceroy said. ” One of the most crucial health determinants is access to quality care, part of that is defined by the provider/patient relationship. As the industry continues to move towards further integration with health technology, Westmed is committed to employing and adopting new tech to deepen the patient/provider relationship, even outside of the doctor’s office.”
Healthcare AI has been a very hot spot for investment and development, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Orbita, Hyro, and Avaamo have all seen significant funding rounds, and it was healthcare and tools like COVID-19 vaccine bots that helped make Nuance worth almost $20 billion to Microsoft. Alexa has been augmenting its own healthcare capabilities over the last couple of years. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred on some of them, including giving Alexa the ability to find and map out testing and vaccination sites. Plus, Amazon released the Halo fitness tracker, later adding Alexa voice controls, and acquired PillPack before launching Amazon Pharmacy. Amazon has also begun seeking out AI startups interested in the space for its new AWS Healthcare Accelerator.