Amazon Alexa Helping Patients Find Shorter Medical Wait Times

If a person is in serious need of medical attention, a long wait time can be extremely detrimental. Luckily, thanks to a new multifaceted device, patients seeking medical attention have a better chance to cut down those long waiting periods.

According to the Urgent Care Association of America, it’s estimated that 3 million patients visit urgent care facilities each week. Many of those visits go well; the patient arrives, gets seen right away, the medical professional administers tests or prescribes medications, and the patient is sent on his or her way. Other times, especially when emergency rooms are involved, those patients have to wait much longer to be seen, potentially worsening their medical issues.

That’s where Amazon Alexa comes in.

MobiHealthNews reports that Amazon Alexa now has a new skill that can help users find nearby medical facilities with the shortest wait times at that moment.

“It’s important for patients to find the shortest wait time that’s still convenient for them to access because quite frankly we want to get them the care that they need as quickly as possible,” said Emily Kagan Trenchard, associate vice president of digital and innovation strategy at Northwell Health. “When there are longer wait times it often means that the emergency department or urgent care is more impacted serving other patients, and if there is another location that’s available to them and convenient to them to travel to,” Kagan Trenchard added, “that just means we get them the care that much quicker.”

It’s important to note that a user should still check with a hospital or medical facility during an emergency to get the real wait time. On Amazon Alexa’s wait time page, the description notes to ask Alexa for an average wait time in your area or for a specific facility.

“Connecting with our patients — and the broader community — where they live and interact is a core value,” added Ramon Soto, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at Northwell. “While technology will continue to evolve, our commitment to the patient experience remains constant.”

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