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Parents, Don't Panic: Amazon Echo, Other Alexa-Enabled Devices Can Answer Questions About Your Kids' Health

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If you own the Amazon Echo or any other Alexa-enabled devices, then you can put the feature to good use – and we don't mean ordering pizza! Amazon Echo has been integrated with the KidsMD feature, which will enable parents to quiz it about children's health, among other things.

Thanks to this new skill developed by the Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) team at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) for the Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, parents will be able ask several questions about common symptoms or medical dosages.

KidsMD was launched on April 12 and is the first health care skill for Alexa-enabled devices. The idea behind the software is to allow parents to ask Alexa about their child's health. For example, one can issue the command "Alexa, ask KidsMD about fever" to learn if the symptoms are serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

"The KidsMD skill makes it easier to access medical information from Boston Children's Hospital, a world-class medical institution. That access is important for all of our Alexa customers, and particularly parents. We're thrilled to be working with Boston Children's on such a unique and valuable skill. We now have over 500 Alexa skills, and we're looking forward to adding more important skills like this for our customers," said Rob Pulciani, Amazon Alexa director. 

The innovative app for Alexa basically taps into the cloud-based content from the doctors at BCH and it also gives age- or weight-specific guidelines for over-the-counter drugs.

BCH wants to focus not only on offering educational information on common pediatric symptoms, but to also give basic guidance to parents on treatments that can be done at home.

In the long-term, IDHA envisions Alexa-enabled devices will be used by the public to verbally interact with the educational content that BCH has developed. Nitin Gujral, IDHA's software development manager, is also optimistic that connected home gadgets such as the Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo and Echo Dot will be deployed for "intuitive health care delivery."

BCH's Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein says that the hospital is attempting to extend the know-how beyond its walls via the digital medium, and KidsMD is a step toward the goal of making content available at a wider scale.

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