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Amazon Alexa to start offering NHS health advice

The UK government has announced a new partnership with Amazon, which will enable the tech giant’s smart digital assistant Alexa to offer “reliable health information” from the NHS.

The technology will help patients, especially the elderly, blind and those who cannot access the internet through traditional means, to get professional, NHS-verified health information in seconds, said the government.

Amazon’s algorithm will use information from the NHS website to provide answers to basic questions such as “how do I treat a migraine?” and “what are the symptoms of flu?”.

With voice search increasing rapidly – and expectations that by 2020, half of all searches will be made through voice-assisted technology – the government said that Amazon’s technology has the potential to reduce the pressure on the NHS and GPs.

“We want to empower every patient to take better control of their healthcare and technology like this is a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists,” said Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.

“Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we want to embrace the advances in technology to build a health and care system that is fit for the future and NHSX will drive this revolution to bring the benefits to every patient, clinician and carer.”

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