Alexa, Schedule a Doctor's Appointment

April 10, 2019 Sara Vaezy

Nearly 58 million U.S. adults have at least one smart speaker in their home. That is 23% of U.S adults, and reflects 22% growth in smart speaker adoption just since January 2018.

As voice technology becomes common in homes and daily routines, numerous industries are racing to identify ways to bring their services to users via simple voice commands. The transition towards voice-driven services is easy for some industries, but has seemed farfetched for other highly-regulated and complex industries — especially health care.

Until now.

“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.” — Aaron Martin, Chief Digital Officer Providence St. Joseph Health

Currently, patients have limited options for conveniently accessing their health care needs. Most are still scheduling appointments over the phone months in advance, and often have trouble remembering appointment dates or following up with their provider. Limited digital access to care, and dependency on digital tools outside of health care has caused patients to forget, or even avoid scheduling their appointments altogether.

This is a huge opportunity for health systems and providers to meet patients on the platforms they’re using, and create solutions that leverage AI and voice-enabled tech to help simplify their overall care experience.

We’re really excited to collaborate with Amazon to launch a new Alexa skill that will address this challenge and improve patients’ access to health care and scheduling services.

Our new Alexa skill enables people to set up health care visits and manage medical appointments using Alexa-enabled devices at home or through the Alexa app. Through this new HIPAA-compliant skill, our consumers can ask Alexa to find a location near their home, and schedule or cancel appointments at Providence and Swedish Express Care Clinics in the Seattle area, and across 22 clinics in Washington State. We’re expanding the skill’s reach, so an additional 15 Providence Express Care locations in the greater Portland Area and across Oregon state will have Alexa capabilities within the next month.

To access and use this new skill, users simply have to say “Alexa, open Providence (or Swedish) Health Connect” and Alexa will reply with suggested appointment times at the closest clinics to a user’s home. Check out a demo of the skill below:

To set up the skill, consumers can go to the Alexa app and enable the Providence (or Swedish) Health Connect skill found under Health and Fitness. They can sign in or sign up to their Providence (or Swedish) Health Connect account on the Alexa app and establish a voice code. Then, patients simply link the Alexa skill to their Health Connect account. The Swedish Health Connect skill is available today on the Alexa app and the Providence Health Connect skill will be available soon.

This latest innovation is one of many digital health solutions advanced by our team here at PSJH’s Digital Innovation Group (DIG) to help make healthcare a more customer-centric industry. To stay up-to-date with industry trends and our technological developments, follow us on Twitter.

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