It’s hoped the world-first collaboration will empower people to take greater control of their health and care.
Through simply asking Alexa questions about symptoms or treatments, the technology can provide qualified advice to users in the comfort of their own homes.
Amazon’s algorithms trawl information on NHS websites to provide answers to questions like: “How do I treat a migraine?”, “What are the symptoms of flu?” and “What are the symptoms of chickenpox?”.
By providing better access to advice on common illnesses, particularly for elderly or blind patients who are unable to access the internet on a smartphone or computer, it’s hoped pressure on GP services and A&E will be relieved.
For patients like Adi Latif, who is blind, the partnership will make accessing health information easier. He already uses Alexa for task like emails, ordering a taxi and news updates. “Convenience is king and it’s brilliant to know I can ask Alexa about various illness and receive credible, NHS-verified information,” the 38-year-old from Camden said.
“It cuts out all the searching online, which can be a traumatic experience for many people – especially those who are disabled or not familiar with technology. Smart speakers such as Alexa are no doubt high tech, but they are designed in a way which allows you to have a conversation with them making them less daunting to use.
“NHS services need to be designed in a way that allows all people, including those who are blind or disabled, access them easily from the convenience of their own home.”
Announcing the partnership Matt Hancock, Secretary for Health and Social Care, said the partnership was about building a health and care system fit for the future.