We introduced Alexa five years ago, and early on customers began to rely on Alexa for day-to-day tasks such as setting their morning alarm, managing their schedules, creating reminders, to-do lists, routines, and more. After receiving a number of stories and reviews from customers, we noticed a trend: many customers were using Alexa to remind them to take medications on a regular basis. Some customers shared feedback to improve the reminders feature for this use case—for example, by adding more time frames like “twice a day”—and others shared personal stories about how this feature benefited them and their families. With each story, we continued to think about how we could help customers track and manage their health and wellness from home.
Today, we’re introducing new features that allow customers to set medication reminders by using their pharmacy prescription information, and to request prescription refills—all by simply asking Alexa.
We’ve teamed up with Omnicell to launch this experience, and these new Alexa capabilities will be available to Giant Eagle Pharmacy customers. Giant Eagle is a multi-format food, fuel, and pharmacy retailer offering customers full-service pharmacies in more than 200 of its supermarket locations. Omnicell is a provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for pharmacies and health systems.
The new Alexa medication reminders and voice refill request features will be available for customers of all Giant Eagle pharmacies starting today. We’ll learn a lot from this initial launch and we’ll continue to evolve the experience and expect to expand to additional pharmacies next year.
To use these features, customers will first need to enable the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill and link their account. The customer will then be asked to create an Alexa voice profile, if they don’t already have one, and create a personal passcode for an added layer of security and peace of mind. Once set up is complete, a customer can say, "Alexa, manage my medication" to get started setting up their reminders. Alexa will then help the customer review their current prescriptions and set up medication reminders based on when the customer prefers to take each medication. When the reminder goes off, customers can ask, "Alexa, what medication am I supposed to take right now?" In addition, customers can use Alexa to request a refill from their pharmacy by saying, "Alexa, refill my prescription."
Protecting your privacy
Privacy and security are foundational when we build all of our Alexa features, and today’s launch builds on the work we did earlier this year to provide a HIPAA-eligible environment for skill developers. These medication management features use multiple layers of verification to ensure that only you are able to access your prescription information via Alexa. Alexa will first recognize you by your voice, then ask you for the personal passcode you created during the set up process. If the voice profile or personal passcode does not match with the account, information will not be relayed. Additionally, just as is the case with previously introduced Alexa healthcare skills, interactions with this skill are also redacted in the Alexa app to maintain privacy.
Finally, customers are always in control of their voice recordings. Customers can review and delete their voice recordings at any time on the Privacy Settings page, via the Alexa app, or by voice. To learn more about the features that provide transparency and control over their Alexa experience, customers can visit the Alexa Privacy Hub.
Day one for voice and healthcare
Voice has proven to be beneficial for a variety of use cases because it removes barriers, and simplifies daily tasks. We believe this new Alexa feature will help simplify the way people manage their medication by removing the need to continuously think about what medications they’ve taken that day or what they need to take. We want to make it easy for people to get the information they need and to manage their healthcare needs at home while maintaining the privacy and security of their information, and hope this feature is a step toward that vision.
We’re excited to work with Omnicell and Giant Eagle Pharmacy to deliver this feature to customers.
“We’re thrilled to help our Giant Eagle Pharmacy patients more easily integrate prescription management into their everyday lives with the introduction of the Giant Eagle Pharmacy skill,” said Jim Tsipakis, Giant Eagle Senior Vice President of Pharmacy. “We’re passionate about making care as accessible as possible for our patients, and this unique collaboration with Amazon has enabled us to utilize voice technology to do just that.”
“Integrating with Amazon Alexa makes it possible for patients to manage their medications by simply using voice, providing greater independence for older adults and the ultimate convenient, frictionless patient experience for everyone,” said Danny Sanchez, vice president and general manager, Population Health Solutions, Omnicell. “This new technology is just the beginning, as we continue to identify straightforward and easy-to-use pharmacy tasks that voice–powered devices can perform in the real world to keep the patient at the center of care and streamline pharmacy workflow.”
As we say at Amazon, it’s still Day 1 for Alexa and healthcare—we look forward to continuing to innovate on behalf of customers.