amazon has teamed up with the UK national healthcare insurance (NHS) to offer potential patients with diagnosis and treatment recommendations through its alexa devices. the partnership, which was first announced last year, incorporates the NHS website into amazon’s algorithm to give advice on questions such as ‘how do I treat a migrane?’ and, ‘what are the symptoms of chickenpox?’

amazon alexa will start diagnosing and treating health conditions

cover image via methodshop



the UK government hopes the new feature will reduce demand on the NHS while privacy campaigners have raised data protection concerns. amazon say all information will be kept confidential but civil liberty group ‘big brother watch’ says it is ‘a data protection disaster waiting to happen.’


in an interview with the BBC, director silkie carlo said: ‘any public money spent on this awful plan rather than frontline services would be a breathtaking waste. healthcare is made inaccessible when trust and privacy is stripped away, and that’s what this terrible plan would do.’


in a statement to the times, a spokesperson for amazon said the company would not share user information with any third parties or use it to build a profile of its customers.

amazon alexa will start diagnosing and treating health conditions



amazon’s alexa device has previously come under scrutiny for privacy reasons. in may of last year, some users had found that an error with the device had meant their personal conversations were being recorded and then forwarded on to friends. in january, designboom published a ‘parasite-like’ device designed by danish designer bjoern karmann that protected users privacy by feeding smart speakers with white noise.


the NHS has committed to a long-term plan, which aims to improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes in an effort to relieve pressure on the health service. the 10-year plan that was announced this year includes making more services available digitally.