Want to message your Children's Hospital doctor? Alexa can help

Boston Children’s Hospital patients and their parents can now use Alexa to access information in their medical record, with the hospital announcing Thursday that it had launched a new secure function with the software.

The rollout is the first time Amazon has enabled health systems to create functions that tie into a patient's medical record, in compliance with the federal government's health privacy rule known as the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act."  Children's was one of only six organizations on Thursday to launch a "HIPAA-compliant skill" on Amazon's voice technology program Alexa, a step that also marks Amazon's latest foray into the health care space.

Alexa will initially be available to Boston Children’s cardiac surgery patients as part of the hospital's Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Cardiac program, giving pre-operation and post-operation care to patients. Hospital officials plan to expand to additional departments in the future.

Leila Amerling