“Alexa, book me an Express Care appointment”

April 4, 2019 Providence Marketing

Yes, it is now possible to book an appointment at Express Care clinics through your Amazon Alexa app!

In collaboration with Amazon, Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) became the first provider on the West Coast to give consumers the convenience of getting access to health care via voice command using Alexa. As voice has become a common way for consumers to gain access to information, why should access to taking care of yourself be any different? We don’t think it should.

To quote the PSJH Chief Digital Officer, Aaron Martin: “Voice is going to be a big part of the future in all areas of our lives, including health and health care. We’re excited to be one of the first health systems in the U.S. to build Alexa skills that help our patients connect to our providers and get faster access to care. We’re innovating around how consumers experience and access health care.”

Out of the gate, the organization is focusing its Alexa booking skill on its Express Care clinics in the Seattle market. For those unfamiliar with Express Care, here are some essentials:

  • Offers same-day care at neighborhood retail clinics and inside Walgreens stores
  • Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week
  • Most visits covered by insurance copay or $149 per visit (no insurance)
  • Good for low acuity care needs such as cold and flu, eye irritations, sprains and strains
  • Many clinics offer screenings and tests such as strep, mono and urinalysis tests

The addition of voice-enabled appointment booking complements our existing online or in-app booking process, and gives consumers more choice to get the care they need how they want to get it. The Alexa skill is run through a new HIPAA-compliant environment to ensure the security of your privacy and health data.

How does it work?

The integration between Alexa and the Health Connect mobile apps is seamless and the setup is super easy. There are two core components – the Swedish or Providence Health Connect app in the Alexa skills marketplace. Here how it works:

  1. Open your Alexa app search for the Health Connect skill under health and fitness and enable the skill
  2. If you already have the Providence Health Connect or Swedish Health Connect mobile app, once you enable the skill you’ll be prompted to sign in. If you don’t have the app you will be asked to register for Health Connect.
  3. For extra security you will be asked to set up a 4 to 8-digit PIN. This is your health after all!

To use the Alexa skill, you simply say, “Alexa, open Swedish Health Connect,” if you live in the greater Seattle area, or “Alexa, open Providence Health Connect” for Express Care Clinics across Washington, and Alexa will suggest appointment times at a clinic near you, either the same or next day. Consumers may also specify the ideal time or time window by saying “later today” or at a specific time and the skill will search for a matching appointment. It is also possible to cancel the appointment and schedule a new one through Alexa. 

The Swedish Health Connect skill is available 4 April 2019 on the Alexa app and the Providence Health Connect skill will be available soon.

Providence St. Joseph Health plans to expand the Alexa skills to an additional 15 Providence Express Care locations in Oregon and is exploring new skills development and further expansion throughout PSJH’s seven-state service area.


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About the Author

Kelby has spent the last five years leading the content strategy, editorial programming, and brand storytelling for Providence. He's a connector with a passion is finding the cultural and expert insights that can be turned into relevant and helpful stories that help people live happy and healthy lives.

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