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Giant Eagle Pharmacy Invests in Alexa to Support Patients with Medication Management

Steve LoSardo
Publication Date
10 January 2020

Giant Eagle Pharmacy Invests in Alexa to Support Patients with Medication Management

Is Alexa HIPAA Compliant?

The short answer: Yes, Amazon’s voice assistant can now manage people’s sensitive health information in a HIPAA-compliant way, representing an important step for the company into the $3.5 trillion health care sector.

This should come as no surprise because Amazon is clearly committed to moving into the healthcare space. Since 2018, Amazon has acquired two health startups, PillPack and Health Navigator, which will become a part of Amazon Care, a healthcare service program for its employees. (Read our thoughts about that program here.)

Most recently, Amazon Alexa released a skill for Giant Eagle Pharmacy customers, enabling them to talk to Alexa about prescription refills, manage their medications, and set alarms to remind them when it’s time to take their medicine. This latest digital innovation clearly shows that Amazon understands the importance of maintaining patient privacy and is investing in tools that allow healthcare providers to offer HIPAA-compliant skills to their patients.

With healthcare, it’s true that if it isn’t secure, patients won’t engage. Patients are protective of their data and aware of security especially when it comes to their personal health information. Amazon has tackled this with the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill by mandating a voice profile and a passcode in order for patients to access their pharmaceutical information. The records of interactions with the skill are also redacted to protect the privacy of patients, and users can delete them like any other Alexa recording. 

With this assurance, industry predictions are that patient engagement will follow. But are the predictions correct?

Are Patients Ready for this Level of Engagement?

A recent report shows that more than half of all U.S. consumers want to apply voice assistants to healthcare. And while only 7.5% of consumers have used the technology for healthcare, 51.9% of consumers surveyed said that they would like to employ a voice assistant for that purpose. Furthermore, while most of the people who have used voice assistants for health in some way are under 30 years of age, consumers between the ages of 45 and 60 are most enthusiastic about the potential. And the benefits of technology to revolutionize healthcare for older populations who need it most are truly unlimited. 

As the aging population continues to grow, so too will their familiarity with technology. Young baby boomers have likely been exposed to more technology than their parents and, coupled with their desire to age at home, technology will play a large role in their care plans. Read more about our stance on aging at home, why technology is imperative for baby boomers as they age, and how you can get started in this blog.

The Time to Prepare for Alexa in Healthcare is Now

So if Amazon Alexa is HIPAA compliant, and patients are showing a big interest in using it (specifically for healthcare needs), what’s the next step?

Healthcare and life science organizations should start preparing to meet the needs of patients now. Check out our blog, 4 Tips for Getting Started with Conversational AI, as you start to think about next steps. Additionally, feel free to contact Mobiquity to speak directly with a conversational AI expert. Our experts have over a decade of experience and are happy to speak with you about your digital innovation goals.  

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