Assistive healthcare technology takes several familiar forms. Developments in robotics, augmented reality glasses, and digital voice assistants help patients and clinicians; they even speed up record-taking in crowded hospital emergency departments. We’ve written about Amazon Alexa Skills that support senior independent living, ambulance attendants, and, most recently, Livongo’s HIPAA-compliant Alexa Skill for diabetics.

The Livongo Alexa Skill was one of six healthcare skills developed to operate in the Alexa Skills Kit’s new HIPAA-eligible environment. Livongo’s skill for diabetics was the only direct consumer skill in Amazon’s initial release with this new technology. The other five healthcare skills that can transmit and receive HIPAA-compliant secured health information include Express Scripts, Cigna Health Today, Boston Children’s Hospital’s My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, Swedish Health Connect, and Atrium Health. These six diverse skills (including Livongo) are Amazon’s first step in launching voice-driven apps as a way to conveniently access healthcare services.

Data security is one of the top concerns that patients have about digital health services. Too many companies don’t make their systems HIPAA-compliant. Amazon deserves credit for paying attention to this requirement, and for extending its HIPAA-eligible tool set to additional developers interested in building healthcare Alexa Skills. You can register to receive updates on the Alexa HIPAA development environment at this link.