Other companies with electronic assistants, such as Google, have the potential to compete with Amazon in the healthcare sector but will need to catch up with Amazon’s HIPAA compliance if they want to stay competitive.

According to the HIPAA Journal, Google Assistant and its Home speakers are not currently meeting HIPAA guidelines and are ineligible for use in healthcare settings.

However, some of Google’s cloud services do comply with HIPAA. Until Google ensures that its Assistant and Home speaker meet the requirements of HIPAA, Amazon’s Alexa will continue to have an edge in the healthcare space.

With products such as Alexa storing sensitive medical information, patients will want to know that companies will be able to secure their information. Amazon will need to be transparent about how the devices are securing patient information before consumers are comfortable using them for medical purposes.

To secure sensitive patient information, Amazon includes encryption capabilities and securely stores data on the Amazon cloud.

Developers creating medical-related capabilities for Alexa must comply with HIPAA’s Privacy and Security rules. This includes having proper encryption and restricting access to patient information. However, consumers should remain cautious, as there are minimal checks in place to ensure that developers are following HIPAA regulations.

While the news of Alexa’s HIPAA compliance is very recent, major hospitals in the US have already started to use this device to enhance patient experiences. This includes the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the Boston Children’s Hospital. Cedars-Sinai has already begun to install Amazon’s devices in hospital rooms, which will allow patients to communicate with hospital staff and complete other tasks, such as booking appointments.

The Boston Children’s Hospital is using Alexa to coordinate information about available hospital beds and allow parents to ask questions related to the health of their children. With the use of electronic assistants already apparent, it is possible we will be interacting with these devices the next time we visit the doctor.

This article was initially feature on Verdict, which is part of the same group as NS Tech and GlobalData

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