“Smart speakers have a huge opportunity to become the medical hub of the home,” said John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s important to start benchmarking the ability of these tools to understand medical terms so they can continue to evolve to serve patients.”
Various investors, including Stanley Black & Decker's corporate venture capital arm, Samsung Ventures, Civilization Ventures and others took part in the round.
The product (codenamed Dylan) is being developed by Amazon's hardware development team Lab126 and its Alexa division. Designed to be worn on the wrist, the device seemingly has a form factor similar to a smartwatch.
John Brownstein, the chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, has likewise seen voice apps evolve over the years…the addition of HIPAA compliance allowed Brownstein’s team to take things much further. “We could finally start rolling out use cases where there was a direct connection to the care that a patient was being provided at our hospital,” he said. The Boston hospital’s latest voice effort focuses on helping patients recover after cardiac surgery.
Kristi Ebong, Orbita SVP Strategy and GM Healthcare Providers, is taking part in a panel discussion at the healthcare investment conference MedCity INVEST in Chicago April 23-24 called, “What Can Alexa/Voice Do for Healthcare?”
With the recent news from Amazon, that Alexa can be used for HIPAA compliant skills, the opportunities are broader than simple healthcare education or query and can include two-way asynchronous communication and data collection.
Since deploying speech recognition and integrating it with its athenahealth EHR, the group practice has seen the average note completion time drop from 4.8 minutes to 1.6 minutes per note.
Artificial-intelligence assistant meets privacy rules, giving device a potential daily role with patients. New features let Alexa schedule urgent-care appointments, check health-insurance benefits, read blood-sugar results and handle other health-care tasks.
Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, which uses one the the new healthcare features, says that: “From our view, [Alexa’s data protection] makes for great opportunity in healthcare, because what we’re trying to do is make it easier for patients to access information, easier for patients to track their health and easier for patients to interact with their healthcare system”.
Amazon, which launched the program on Thursday, said the skills are all compliant with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which ensures that personal health care information is protected.