It's created to help patients, especially the elderly, blind and those who can not access the internet through traditional means, to get professional, NHS-verified health information in seconds, through simple voice commands.
Britons who ask Alexa basic health questions like "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" and "Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?" will be given answers vetted by NHS health professionals and now available on its website.
Meanwhile, UK's Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that the move could allow people access to NHS's reliable, world-leading clinical advice from the comfort of their home, further reducing pressure on the country's hardworking Global Positioning System and pharmacists. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world.
The Department of Health hopes the partnership will empower patients to take better control of their healthcare and reduce the pressure on the NHS.
This is a great step by NHS to make itself digital friendly.
The UK government has set up a new unit called NHSX to boost the use of digital technologies in the UK health service.
The healthcare service said it's teaming up with Amazon's voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service's official website.
"The public need to be able to get reliable information about their health easily and in ways they actually use", Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said in a press statement.
However, The Times reported that Mr Hancock had dismissed the idea of using voice-assisted technology at an event last May when he was culture secretary.
"If an insurance provider gains access to the user-specific data, they could potentially categorize users into risk categories based on the advice they sought which could also lead to increased insurance rates for those deemed high risk", he added. Boston Children's Hospital piloted several voice applications, including to improve the efficiency of ICU care and to streamline the preoperative organ transplant process. Now those who Google their medical symptoms can get answers from Alexa herself. Given that consumers are looking up their health symptoms through online searches, organizations like Mayo and now the NHS are putting their clinical expertise behind first-aid instructions and symptom checkers.
With Amazon recently confirming it stores Alexa data even if you wipe your account, critics have questioned the project's potential to impinge on data protection.