Need a doctor? Just talk to Alexa and its new HealthTap integration

Amazon Echo Alexa
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Who needs a doctor when you have Alexa? Aside from telling you the weather, playing your favorite podcasts, ordering you an Uber, and just generally being your all-around favorite virtual assistant, Alexa has now added another skill to your arsenal: Giving medical advice. This week, HealthTap introduced a new integration with the Amazon service, which allows users to simply say, “Alexa, talk to Dr. AI,” in order to simulate an in-person doctor visit.

While HealthTap and Alexa certainly don’t seek to replace your actual appointments, the new feature certainly can help concerned users garner insights into potential health problems — or, if nothing else, allow you to explore the vast database of digital medical knowledge housed by HealthTap and its network of more than 107,000 doctors. The new integration boasts an AI doctor “trained in bedside manner to ask intelligible, dynamically generated questions in natural language via an intuitive conversational user interface.” And if at the end of your chat you determine that you do indeed need to see a real doctor, Alexa can help you with that, too, by scheduling an in-person visit with your health care provider.

“We’d been doing text and video before, then expanded into voice and that’s exciting in health care because we serve many populations that are older, disabled, or frail,” said Ron Gutman, founder and CEO of HealthTap, in an interview with Fortune. “Voice is cool, but more important, it’s fills a real need of people who have difficulty using their hands or whose eyesight is not that great,” Gutman added.

While HealthTap was previously available for iPhone and Android, the company hopes that adding Alexa to the mix will make it more user-friendly still, particularly for the elderly and disabled who may have limited mobility and use of their hands. So if you need to talk to a doctor, just talk to Alexa. She’s the next best thing.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Wearables

Alphabet’s health watch monitors your heart health, is approved by the FDA

A health monitoring watch being developed by Alphabet, Google's parent company, has received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. This means that the device has been found to be safe and can legally be sold in the U.S.
Smart Home

Want a smarter home? Ditch the keys with these great smart locks

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Deals

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.
Health & Fitness

Futuristic mask filters out air pollution for cyclists and runners

A concern for cyclists in urban environments is staying safe from airborne pollutants. A cycling mask shown off at CES 2019 could help combat this problem by blocking out air pollution to keep cyclists' lungs clear as they ride.
Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.
Outdoors

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.
Deals

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.
Wearables

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Photography

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.