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Amazon Echo gets its first healthcare skill – KidsMD

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Amazon Echo gets its first healthcare skill – KidsMD

Amazon Alexa-enabled devices just got a bit smarter thanks to the new ability to answer a variety of questions around fever and other common symptoms. Called KidsMD, the feature was developed by the Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) team at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is now available on such devices as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire TV.

By simply talking to an Alexa-enabled device, parents can decide whether symptoms like fever, cough, headache, rash, vomiting, sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue or shortness of breath warrant a call to the doctor. The KidsMD Alexa skill can also offer weight- or age-specific dosing guidelines for over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen, tapping cloud-based content created and curated by Boston Children’s physicians.

“We eventually intend to enable Alexa to give broader kinds of health care information via KidsMD, but we’re starting with symptoms that are of common concern to parents,” Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, PhD, who leads the IDHA team, said in a statement.

To access the KidsMD skill, users will first need to enable the skill within the Alexa app. Then, the user can then say phrases like, “Alexa, ask KidsMD about dosing,” or “Ask KidsMD about fever,” and then proceed with their question.

“Families will increasingly look to perform front-line health care triage with diagnostic mobile apps and devices and decision support applications,” Nitin Gujral, IDHA’s software development manager, said in a statement. “Connected home devices like Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV and Amazon Tap will begin to be used for intuitive health care delivery.”

The KidsMD skill for Alexa is intended to provide general guidance and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Recently, Amazon Alexa also got the ability to communicate with Fitbit devices, enabling users to ask Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices about their fitness levels, activities and so on.

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