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Amazon details custom Alexa programs for hospitals and retirement communities | Engadget

Amazon has announced two new programs for centered around healthcare and retirement homes. Through , hospitals and senior living communities can run their own custom version of the voice assistant.

Retirement homes might tap into Alexa to help residents keep in contact with family and friends, stay in touch with staff, take part in activities and remain engaged with other members of the community. Staff members can use Alexa to broadcast announcements and, of course, the voice assistant can still be used for things like controlling connected devices and smart TVs.

Amazon’s aim with the healthcare program is to, among other things, let staff members check in with patients without having to enter their rooms. In turn, patients can ask nurses questions, and they’ll be able to respond to brief queries without having to leave their station. In addition, they can ask Alexa to play music or a podcast. As with the senior living program, care providers could use Alexa for announcements. This program builds on a at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

A version of Alexa for healthcare providers is something that Amazon has had in the works for some time. A the company was developing hardware and software for healthcare projects, and those rumors . In 2019, Amazon rolled out the , which let providers help people manage prescriptions and provide blood glucose readings and tips to people with diabetes. It also has over the last couple of years.

Amazon isn’t the only major tech company with an interest in the healthcare field. Microsoft into an AI for Health program and it earlier this year to buy speech tech company Nuance for $19.7 billion to boost its AI, cloud and healthcare ambitions.

Google, meanwhile, has worked closely with some healthcare providers. It to open an office in Rochester, Minnesota this year. The Mayo Clinic is headquartered there and the two sides plan to collaborate further.

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