retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that “Amazon has built a team within its Alexa voice-assistant division called ‘health & wellness’,” which has as its main job making “Amazon's Alexa voice assistant more useful in the health-care field, an effort that requires working through regulations and data privacy requirements laid out by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), according to people familiar with the matter. The group is targeting areas like diabetes management, care for mothers and infants and aging, said the people, who asked not to be named because the work is confidential.

According to the story, “While Amazon isn't talking publicly about the health and wellness group, its existence is the clearest indication of the company's plan to bring Alexa voice technology to the rapidly growing field of digital health. Having the right compliance and regulatory licenses in place would allow Alexa-powered devices and apps to share and upload sensitive health data with medical professionals and patients. It would also enable integrations with third-party apps.”
KC's View:
I’ll buy this - it makes perfect sense to be able to talk to an Alexa-powered system to get health and wellness information.

But, of course, there will be privacy concerns. If I ask Alexa about a specific medical issue, will that be between us, or could it find its way elsewhere? That’s certainly a question to which I’d like an answer.