Seattle, WA — When Amazon first bought the online pharmacy PillPack, in 2018, many began wondering about the precise nature of Amazon’s health care ambitions. At last, some customers are now experiencing Amazonian health care firsthand. As you’d expect from the company that went from disruptive to ubiquitous, these experiences take place at home—or wherever you set up your Alexa—where the voice assistant offers medication reminders, and patients can request prescription refills by talking back.
It’s mostly Midwestern American Alexas that have the skill, at this point, as the program is being piloted with Giant Eagle, a major pharmacy across the region. Amazon used its own data on Alexa usage to conceive of this new skill, which is inspired by the ways that customers were already using their Alexas to set other kinds of reminders. The program came out of a partnership with Ominicell, a company that provides medication compliance solutions.
“Alexa, manage my medication” is what you say to get started. Alexa, who should probably get a shrunken cylindrical white coat, reviews your current prescriptions and establishes reminders to take each of your medications based on what time of day you like to do so. When a reminder is sounded, you can say, “Alexa, what medication am I supposed to take right now?” And finally, when the time comes, you can say, “Alexa refill my prescription,” and she will get the ball rolling, doing her part to help improve globally dismal second-fill and adherence rates.
Rachel Jiang, head of Alexa Health and Wellness, posted on the Amazon blog about the new program, writing, “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.”
Tech leaders are becoming new health care leaders, leveraging their know-how and expert partners to offer game-changing, simple solutions. The result is increasingly streamlined health care experiences that look and feel more and more like any other retail experience. Accordingly, pharmaceutical innovators will be on the lookout for new ways to meet and exceed their customers’ evolving expectations.