Alexa is HIPAA Ready!

Remember how scared you were when you heard about HIPAA? Remember how you were going to get sued, fined or lose your license because you may mention a patient by name or talk to them in the supermarket with the possibility of someone listening? Well, in another example of double standards:

Alexa can now transfer sensitive, personal health information using software that meets health-privacy requirements under federal law. Five companies, including insurer Cigna Corp. , diabetes-management company Livongo Health Inc. and major hospital systems, said they developed new Alexa features for consumers using the federal protocol. The features let Alexa perform tasks such as scheduling urgent-care appointments, tracking when drugs are shipped, checking health-insurance benefits or reading blood-sugar results.

No worries, right? We can trust Amazon, Cigna, Livongo, and so on to be private but doctors? No way. Just another example of how big money talks and the power some companies wield.

Here is the funny part. Not long after the first article there was this one: Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

So… chance of this going bad, huh? I am sure all medical information is safe.

But let’s hammer the doctors for any mistakes they make. That’s fair.

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