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Mar 12, 2017 11:01 PM EDT

An Alexa A Day Keeps The Doctor Away, Amazon AI Gives Medical Advice Via WebMD


Even if Alexa appears to be an intelligent virtual assistant already, WebMD taps Amazon to give it an all-new medical diagnosis capability.

Amazon Alexa can now answer health-related questions, thanks to the help of WebMD. The latter is an online American news site focusing on human welfare. On Tuesday, users can start asking queries about drugs, medical tests, side effects, symptoms, and treatments for particular diseases.

WebMD upgrades Alexa

According to Health Drive, more and more people are turning to online sources such as WebMD for their health questions. In fact, according to the 2012 Philips North America survey, almost half (49 percent) of Americans trust digital publications to learn about their ailments. Moreover, aside from Amazon Alexa, Google also plans to work with Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School to improve its symptom searches.

As clinical questions become more complicated, doctors start to push the public to do self-research. Also, Millennials love the "instant" nature and convenience of online medical search tools likeWebMD. Indeed, Amazon Alexa looks strong and may have a major advantage against its rival brands.

The AI race continues to grow its fame primarily because of its hands-free feature and reliability of results. For the record, the WebMD and Alexa partnership permits users to request additional and more detailed information. These would be sent in text form rather than a recording clip.

Alexa & WebMD: How does it work?

Forbes reported that users need to manually add the skill to their handsets via the Alexa app store. First, open the program and tap on the sidebar menu button in the top-left corner of the screen. The next step is to hit on the "Search Skills" box and type WebMD.

Upon searching WebMD, users must choose "Install". To effectively ask a question, they must add the phrase "Alexa, ask WebMD..." To illustrate, the queries may be "Alexa, ask WebMD to tell me about type 2 diabetes" or "Alexa, ask WebMD what an echocardiogram is."

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