Just when you thought Amazon's already smart virtual assistant couldn't get smarter the WebMD teams up with Amazon to provide Alexa with medical diagnosis capabilities. With this update, Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Fire TV will now be able to answer basic medical questions, such as, "ask WebMD what are the symptoms of heart-attack" or "Alexa, ask WebMD how to treat a common cold".
To avail this feature all the users have to do is add the skill to Alexa via the Alexa app store. To do that, the users need to type in WebMD in place of the option "Search Skills" inside the app and then choose to install it. Once the installation is done, every query of the user needs to start with the phrase "Alexe, ask WebMD..." and Alexa will give the answer.
If any user thinks the voice information is not enough, this new integration allows the users to request for more information sent in text from their Alexa app. If they ask so, a card containing the original answer along with an URL, where they can find more information about the same subject on WebMD.com, will appear on the app.
WebMD Vice President Ben Greenberg says that every month "nearly one-third of the total online US population" visits WebMD via website or app to get answers to their health problems and now there will be one more option available and it will be simpler with Alexa, reported Forbes.
"There are a number of reasons that voice-enabled interfaces are growing in popularity - they are generally hands-free, people can talk faster than they type, and when done right, they make it easier for consumers to quickly and easily get to the information they need," said Greenberg.
Although WebMD has its own physician editor to verify information, Alexa should come with a health warning of its own as well. Moreover, users should always be careful while self-diagnosing, as it is definitely much riskier than going to a physician.