Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant, has the opportunity to be used in healthcare to remotely monitor patients and help doctors register cases. The technology is currently not compliant under Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Alexa does not meet the federal rules to protect patient privacy when it comes to their personal health data.
As per developers, not all health app will be HIPAA compliant but the law requires “covered entities” such as doctors, health plans, and their business associated to be compliant.
The health developers can only build Amazon’s Alexa to recommend nutritious food. The team will be unable to record patients’ lab results or similar information in a clinical setting.
Amazon acknowledged this issue on Monday at an event, “diabetes challenge”. The team collaborated with a series of partners to use, cases for Alexa for patients with diabetes.
Amazon partnered up with Merck, the American pharmaceutical company, and Luminary Labs, a strategy firm in New York.
Oxana Pickeral, Amazon Web Services’ health lead, said at the event, “We publicly acknowledge the gap and will take steps to fix it. While Alexa and Lex (technology powering Alexa) are not HIPAA eligible, this challenge has provided us with an opportunity to envision what is possible.”
Amazon Web Services, its cloud service, took multiple steps to become compliant to work with covered entities which manage personal health information. It is currently dominant cloud provider for health care.