(Pocket-lint) - Soon, you might be able to ask, "Alexa, am I sick?", and then possibly share your sensitive health data, such as symptoms, to your doctor.
According to CNBC, which looked at a leaked internal document about Amazon's plans, billionaire Jeff Bezos' online retail company has invested in and built up an entirely new team for Alexa. It's focused on "health and wellness", and it includes over a dozen people, and is being led by Rachel Jiang, who comes from Amazon's ad and video divisions. The goal is to make Alexa more useful in the health-care field.
Mind you, Amazon is no stranger to disrupting entire markets and sectors. It's totally re-shaped retail to the point of no return. Physical malls are decaying before our very eyes, and just about every other day we hear about some big box retailer or physical shop going belly up. Make no mistake: that's the Amazon effect. Now, Amazon has its sights on healthcare, which, truth be told, could use a little upending.
Currently, in the US, healthcare is a mess. But if Amazon wants to make sense of it, in some way, it first must jump through HIPAA regulatory hurdles - and that's just in that country alone. Nevertheless, CNBC said the new team is plugging away, working on areas like "diabetes management, care for mothers and infants, and aging". Of course, none of this information has been confirmed by Amazon.
But we can see Alexa getting better digital health tools so that it can share sensitive health data with medical professionals. Keep in mind, earlier this year, Amazon announced it formed a joint initiative with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, with the purpose of improving health-care services. So, it's not like this new move by Amazon comes as a complete surprise.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more.
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