Amazon is jumping into the medication adherence space with a new feature that lets users link up their pharmacy prescription information and, in turn, get reminders about when to take their pills and order refills.
The latest feature was born out of a collaboration between the online retail giant and Omnicell, a tech-enabled medication management company. Initially the feature will be rolled out to Giant Eagle Pharmacy customers, but Amazon hinted that it plans to launch at more pharmacies next year depending on how the rollout goes.
In the blog announcing the news, Amazon took time to discuss privacy, noting that this feature will be using “multiple layers of verification” to protect user information, including voice recognition and passcodes.
WHY IT MATTERS
Voice technology is coming onto the healthcare scene in recent years. Big names such as Boston Children’s Hospital, AstraZeneca and Novartis are talking about how the tech could work for their organizations. However, the use cases for the tools are still very much evolving. This marks one of the ways Amazon is looking to implement its tech in the healthcare sector.
“Voice has proven to be beneficial for a variety of use cases because it removes barriers, and simplifies daily tasks,” Rachel Jiang, head of Alexa Health and Wellness at Amazon, said in the blog. “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.”
THE LARGER TREND
It’s clear Amazon is interested in the pharmacy space. In June of 2018 it acquired PillPack, a startup that delivers medications in pre-sorted dose packaging, coordinates refills and renewals, and ensures that shipments are sent on time. Amazon has recently rebranded the virtual pharmacy from “PillPack, an Amazon company” to “PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy.”
ON THE RECORD
“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,” Jim Tsipakis, Giant Eagle’s SVP of pharmacy, said in a statement. “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.”
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