Need a Doctor? Just Ask Alexa

HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman on how the company’s app, Dr. A.I., can communicate with patients through Amazon’s Alexa device.

Now, if you need to talk to a doctor, you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home.  Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Alexa is no longer just for checking the weather, playing music or shopping online.  With a new app, you can now talk to Alexa about any health issues you may have.  HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman discusses how the company’s app, Dr. A.I., dishes out medical advice.

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The Dr. A.I. app accesses data the company has collected over the years to help provide users with health information.

“It’s actually going through billions of data points.  Any time that you actually provide a set of symptoms in the context it will take the relevant data point, in this case it can be thousands, it can be tens of thousands of doctors’ opinions that came over the years,” Gutman told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

According to Gutman, the system is set up to continually review and improve the information provided to users.

“Not only answering questions, but also peer reviewing each other’s answers for quality, right.  So, doctors are reviewing each other’s answers, creating this statistical model that enables us to take a training set, train the system and give you insights.”

Besides the cool factor of the app responding to users’ voices, Gutman says there are practical benefits to a voice-activated interface as well.

“Think about it, elderly people, people with conditions right, frail people, it’s hard for them to manipulate digital interfaces with their hands, their eyesight many times is not as good.  So, voice-activated interfaces gives us the only opportunity to actually give them advice, provide them access to digital interfaces.”

With rising concerns over cyber security, Gutman discussed what the company is doing to protect the privacy and security of users’ health data.

“So, HealthTap has the health operating system, and the health operating system is HIPAA compliant, it’s actually SOC 2 type 2 certified, which is the highest level of privacy and security in the world.  We’re actually externally audited for privacy, so we’re taking privacy really, really seriously, security even more so.”

When asked about concerns of a potential misdiagnosis, Gutman explained that the app is not providing a diagnosis, but, “Providing information to people and guidance to the right care, at the right time, at the right cost, but the doctor is a click away.”

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