Technology with a twist: Massachusetts medics use Alexa to assist with patients

Imagine getting traffic updates or learning how to treat patients by simply asking Amazon's Alexa.

In Massachusetts, emergency responders are working on using voice-activated technology to provide better patient care.

41 Action News's sister station WBTS reports the new technology could be implemented in just a few months.

Once the program is active, Chris DiBona, director of clinical performance with Brewster ambulance services, said statewide protocols for treating patients could be just a voice request away with Amazon's voice assistant.

"It will access the information that are statewide treatment protocols and then verbally give you the entire protocol," DiBona said.

Using hands-free, voice-activated technology would also allow medics to do away with computers and cellphones, minimizing the risk of contamination.

"It allows you still work, non-contaminate, and it doesn't look like you're taking focus away from the patient," DiBona said.

DiBona said Brewster ambulances are already equipped with Wi-Fi, which means getting the information medics need in life or death situations faster.

"This device will give us weather information, traffic information, information about trauma centers, hospitals, destinations; it's essentially an all in one resource for you," said DiBona.

A big concern with the technology is whether or not HIPPA, or laws that protect private patient information, could be broken.

DiBona said this isn't the case.

"We're not accessing a portal which brings up past medical history or medications associated with the patient," DiBona said. "This is just general information that is available through our state websites and publications that are normally released to us."

Developers are still in the process of working out kinks in the system, but the company says they hope to have Amazon's Alexa up and running in ambulances within a couple of months.

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