We are excited to let you know that you can now apply to the Alexa HIPAA-eligible skill program. This marks the next step for Covered Entities and their Business Associates to be able to use Alexa as the trusted voice service for healthcare consumers at home and on the go. We can’t wait to see what new solutions developers build.
To get started, you can apply here. Please continue below to find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Customers can find an urgent care center near them and schedule a same-day appointment.
“Voice is going to be a big part of the future in all areas of our lives, including health and healthcare. We’re excited to be one of the first heath systems in the U.S. to build Alexa skills that help our patients connect to our providers and get faster access to care. We’re innovating around how consumers experience and access health care”
-Aaron Martin, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Providence St. Joseph Health
Parents and caregivers of children in the ERAS program at Boston Children's Hospital can provide their care teams updates on recovery progress and receive information regarding their post-op appointments.
“Boston Children’s Hospital has long believed that voice technology has the potential to substantially improve the healthcare experience for both consumers and clinicians. The My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) skill allows patients and caregivers to easily share recovery progress with their care team post-surgery.”
-John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital
Members can query their last blood sugar reading, blood sugar measurement trends, and receive insights and Health Nudges that are personalized to them.
“Livongo’s goal is to leverage innovative technologies to create a world-class member experience. We believe that voice technology will have an impactful role in helping our members better manage their chronic conditions, and health in general.”
-Jennifer Schneider, M.D., M.S. President, Livongo
What is new?
Last year this was an invitation-only program. Now, Covered Entities and their Business Associates, subject to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), can apply to access the program by submitting a skill idea to the Alexa Team.
What can I build?
You can use the Alexa Skills Kit to build an Alexa skill that handles data you identify as Protected Health Information (PHI). You can learn what other organizations have created with Alexa HIPAA-eligible skills or browse the Alexa Skills Store for other health skills.
What is a HIPAA-eligible skill?
A HIPAA-eligible skill is a skill you identify as handling PHI, for which you’ve signed the Alexa BAA, and that is approved for distribution through our Program.
How do I apply?
You can apply to build a HIPAA-eligible skill here.
Skill Development Questions
How do I build an Alexa skill?
To learn more about how to build an Alexa skill, you can visit our Alexa Skills Kit here. If you are considering hiring an agency, you can find experienced skill builders here.
What makes a good skill use case?
Successful skills are designed to help your users solve a particular problem, get a relevant piece of information, or complete a specific task. Start with a targeted use case. Remember, you can always add more to your skill in the future. Consider whether the use case is well suited to a voice interaction. For example, skills that require users to navigate through many options are not always good voice use cases. Consider whether your skill should target all of your users or a subset with a more specific need.
What are the best practices I should consider when developing and launching my skill?
For a skill to be successful, your users must learn about the skill, enable it on Alexa, and understand how to use the skill. While your skill will appear in the Alexa Skills Store, you should not rely on the Skills Store alone. Think about how to market your skill to your users when you interact with them. For example, consider if there are staff that need training to make your users aware of the skill and how to use it, or if you can promote your skill as part of other communication with your users. Make sure you measure the success of your skill in the weeks and months after launch. Are you getting the skill adoption you expected? How are your users using the skill? Does their usage give you new ideas for how to improve or enhance your skill?
Will I hear back from the Alexa Team after I submit my application?
Yes, the Alexa Team will respond to all applicants at the email address they provide to let them know if their application is accepted.
What information will I receive from the Alexa Team after I am accepted into the program?
Once your application is accepted, the Alexa Team will provide you with instructions specific to HIPAA-eligible skills to help you get started with development. You will also have an opportunity to review your skill with the Alexa Team prior to certification.
Are there requirements to develop and distribute a HIPAA-eligible skill?
There are requirements in addition to those for developing general skills. To develop and distribute a HIPAA-eligible skill, you must first agree to the Alexa Business Associate Agreement. Next, follow all requirements specified in the developer documentation.