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NHS to use Amazon Alexa to help at-risk patients

The NHS will use Amazon Alexa to help find at-risk patients.

The National Health Service have commissioned a new report to look into the ways in which voice assistants like Alexa can help improve the level of care the health service is able to offer, and it has found the devices could help identify patients at risk of suicide or self-harm.

Written by Doctor Eric Topol, the report also explores the potential future uses of tech including VR therapy and AI scanners, and claims some hospices in London are preparing for AI patient services.

The report suggests users who are suffering from a mental health condition such as depression can talk to their voice assistant about their problems, with the information being sent back to the NHS so they can react accordingly.

However, whilst many people already have the devices in their homes - which means the NHS don't need to pay to have it installed - there is a concern over whether or not users would speak to a voice chatbot about their problems, rather than a real person.

Getting the emotional side of voice-controlled tech perfect is something which is a big priority for manufacturers, but providing they can get it right, the idea of an authentic emotional connection with a machine until such time as a real medical professional can see the patient may be a happy medium.

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