Teladoc to partner with Amazon on Alexa-enabled virtual visits

Teladoc to partner with Amazon on Alexa-enabled virtual visits

Teladoc Health announced this week that it was partnering with Amazon to launch voice-activated virtual care on Alexa-supported Echo devices.  

According to the companies, U.S. customers around the country can connect with a Teladoc provider via audio at any time for general medical needs.  

“By introducing and integrating our virtual-first care experience with Echo devices, we are providing an innovative and convenient way for users to connect with a doctor,” Donna Boyer, chief product officer at Teladoc Health, said in a statement.

“We are meeting consumers where they are, to continue to deliver value and high-quality care to members,” Boyer said.   

WHY IT MATTERS  

The collaboration announcement follows news from Amazon Care that it will be expanding in-person medical services in more than 20 cities this year, in a complement to the company’s app-based urgent care available to employers.

As part of the new offering, customers can say “Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor,” to their supported Echo device to get connected with a Teladoc call center.   

Users will then get a call back on their Echo devices from a Teladoc doctor for virtual visits related to non-emergency health needs, including symptoms of a cold, flu, allergies or COVID-19.   

Teladoc representatives explained that customers will need to have created an Alexa voice ID and grant skill permission before connecting with the call center. Although Teladoc on Alexa will initially launch via audio, the companies say video visits will be coming soon.  

According to the vendors, clients who are offered Teladoc services via insurance or their employers have co-pays. The service is available direct to consumer for $75.

Call center representatives will collect users’ credit card information, explained Teladoc representatives. If the visit is canceled for any reason, the customer will not be charged.

“We’re excited to work with Teladoc Health to offer our customers an easy, hands-free way to connect with a doctor,” said Debra Chrapaty, vice president and chief operating officer at Amazon Alexa.  

“Whether they’re taking care of their sick child in the middle of the night or wanting to ask a doctor about allergy symptoms in between meetings during the day, we hope this experience will help customers find the convenient help they want from the comfort of their own home,” Chrapaty continued.  

THE LARGER TREND

Amazon has built several Alexa-powered health tools, largely aimed until now at supporting older adults. For instance, in December 2021 it announced Alexa Together, which allows caregivers to remotely monitor and assist family members in their homes. That feature was built using the company’s Care Hub, which it rolled out the year prior.  

In addition, in October 2021, Amazon said it would launch Alexa at senior living facilities and health systems to allow providers to communicate with patients remotely.

ON THE RECORD  

“Teladoc Health’s collaboration with Amazon is yet another step in breaking down barriers to healthcare access,” said Boyer in a statement.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.

Twitter: @kjercich

Email: kjercich@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Read More

[an error occurred while processing the directive]