The NHS is leaning Amazon voice assistant Alexa to help elderly, disabled or blind patients ask health-related questions. The government hopes Alexa will reduce pressure on the NHS by offering up information on common complaints.
However, the NHS will not be handing out Amazon Echo voice-activated speakers so that patients can use the Alexa service.
The Royal College of GPs welcomed the use of voice-assisted tech, saying it has the potential to help some patients work out what kind of care they need before seeking face-to-face medical help.
However, it is calling for independent research “to ensure that the advice given is safe, otherwise it could prevent people seeking proper medical help”.
IT adds, "Technology can be brilliant, when used appropriately, and it is playing an increasingly important part in the way we deliver care to our patients throughout the NHS, but we must be careful not to create a digital divide between those patients who can afford it and are able to use it, and those who can't.”