NHS Alexa, perhaps NAHS is more fitting? The move to include Amazons Alexa as a poor digital version of Triage could be considered a strange one. Firstly you need to question why just Alexa? What is wrong with Google Home? Is Apple’s Siri no good too? Did the public have a choice in which service was used? The general state of the NHS is completely down to the governments care of it, this is something that should not be forgotten either.
Politic statements aside. The system that is being developed will mean that Alexa uses a diagnosis dataset prepared by the NHS. If this is really the case then why is this dataset not being created regardlessly, for all smart assistants to latch onto? Why specifically Amazon?
The NHS Long Term Plan commits that every patient will have the right to be offered digital-first primary care by 2023/24.
Though this is already announced as in place and ready to use, the consultation with GP’s regarding digital services continues until 23rd August this year. This is due to their contracts not being written with digital services in mind.
Currently, when you ask Alexa about a medical issue, back pain for instance, things are a little different. Alexa will form the answer from data somewhere else on the internet. Good luck finding out where from.
The plan with the NHS will mean your questions are directed through the NHS service in partnership with Amazon. At least you will know your question is being directed to the NHS, eventually.
NHS Alexa Recordings
As it stands, Alexa currently records everything it hears regardless of what you wish. It also keeps these recordings, pretty much forever. How will this personal medical information be handled in this respect? Will Amazon now hold a record of all your medical issues through each use of Alexa. It really cannot be stressed enough that giving your personal information to other parties is never a great thing to do. Even with nothing to hide.
- Mr Hancock is the current minister for health in Britain. He has warned the NHS unequivocally that technological change is coming.
We are sure most digital internet users would welcome this if it involved all forms of smart assistants.
- The majority of NHS usage in the UK is from the over 65 bracket.
This is understandable. Getting older generally goes hand in hand with more medical requirements. It is a struggle to see this particular demographic using Alexa. Let alone even owning one.
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