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Using Alexa for health advice

(44 Posts)
suziewoozie Wed 10-Jul-19 12:06:39

I’ve got mixed feelings on this. I use the internet occasionally, usually start with NHS website, for health advice. I’m savvy enough to know how to navigate through all the possible sites that pop up and avoid the ( to me) obviously spurious , possibly dangerous ones. But because of the latter, at first thought using Alexa in conjunction with DH, will mean that users are provided with bona fide advice. However, two caveats ;will this reduce visits to the doctors ( the aim) or increase them and, as some people are saying, can we trust Amazon with our health data?

GabriellaG54 Fri 12-Jul-19 11:04:53


Saggi Thu 11-Jul-19 20:49:39

Trust amazon with our health problems!!! Like to know what they’d find to do with my ongoing sinus problems ( 3 months and still waiting for hosp app)...and my UTI.... hardly earth shattering probs and not worth sharing with the rest of the world I think! Of course if the world find them interesting they’re welcome to ‘em as I’ve had quite enough of both!!

sluttygran Thu 11-Jul-19 18:19:00

Alexa, I’m feeling all peely-wally!
“I’m sorry, I don’t recognise those symptoms, would you like to peel an orange?”

ayse Thu 11-Jul-19 15:50:47

Just read in The Independent that both Google and Amazon listen into private conversations (snippets) via their smart gadgets.
What else is happening in secret?

ayse Thu 11-Jul-19 14:52:38

No way! I’m not talking to computers now or in the future if I can find and alternative. I don’t trust this move towards linking up with a commercial company! I want my NHS back!

absthame Thu 11-Jul-19 14:32:46

I am a computer dealer and used to design and develop software. The government and the NHS have a long history of getting anything to do with computers and information systems wrong. I thing this is very dangerous in their and google/amazon/ Microsoft's hands

Nanny123 Thu 11-Jul-19 13:59:04

No way

goldengirl Thu 11-Jul-19 12:34:08

I suppose Alexa is a bit like using the internet. We've not got one - and I don't want one - but I do check the internet occasionally if I have a medical query before going down the GP / 111 path. So far so good!

Witchypoo Thu 11-Jul-19 12:25:42

I was talking nonsense but managed to dial 111. They tried to talk to me but i made no sense. They called a urgent ambilance and stayed on the line apparently. I came to in hospital the next day. Septasemia. Stayed in hospital 10 days. Thank goodness for 111. Do not have Alexa

LinkyPinky Thu 11-Jul-19 11:14:53

Since attending a workshop on cyber security, I would NEVER let an Alexa into my home, let alone anywhere near confidential information. Be very afraid.

missdeke Thu 11-Jul-19 11:05:18

I don't want and would not have an Alexa, however, according to an article on the tv yesterday if you ask it a health question providing the answer starts with 'According to the NHS website' it's just the same as looking it up on the NHS website itself.

Should however, the answer not start with those words then the information could be from any website. I suppose the best thing would be to ask Alexa 'According to the NHS website......'

jaylucy Thu 11-Jul-19 10:51:20

Seeing as Alexa frequently has trouble understanding what you say (often with frustrating if not hilarious results) would you be confident with what you are told? How would Alexa deal with the different accents as well ?
GP surgeries haven't moved with the times with usually last appointment being before 6 and our local surgery only has private patients on a Saturday. With so many people working some distance from home, as well as longer hours, the surgery hours need to change. Probably wouldn't need Alexa then !

mrshat Thu 11-Jul-19 10:50:22


Mistymorningstar Thu 11-Jul-19 10:49:53

Hi, i have got to the stage where i self diagnose myself then go to the GP for confirmation. Can list quite a few over the years but don't want to come over as a total bore. My son bought me an Alexa and though grateful for his kindness (after my cat Oscar was killed outside so won't get another cat because of how he died) I am not that impressed as i find Alexa limiting. You cannot beat the attention and experience of your GP - but what i have found incredibly helpful is the side effects of drugs, especially long term which is available on the internet but not mentioned by the GP.

suziewoozie Thu 11-Jul-19 10:49:29

Paddyann that’s great. What’s your out of hours system? It’s only ooh when I’ve used 111.

nannypiano Thu 11-Jul-19 10:44:52

I phoned NHS Direct when I suspected stroke symptoms. They sent an ambulance in under ten minutes. I doubt Alexa could have done that.

paddyann Thu 11-Jul-19 10:28:01

I can call my surgery and speak to a real live person who knows me an dwhat my health issues are so no Alexa isn't something I'd use.We are lucky, we can get a same day appointment or an emergency one within the hour .If I had a problem with my GP surgery I'd change GP .I think the problem with the NHS in general is people have forgotten how to monitor their own health so a sniffle becomes a problem ,getting drunk needs a hospital bed.Its a problem that should be solvable if young folk are taught that hospitals are for emergencies or severe injuries and GP's are for things that last longer than a week or two

Carolpaint Thu 11-Jul-19 10:23:35

The NHS one is very wimpy and if Alexa just said the first signs of chickenpox are red spots it is even more wimpy.

25Avalon Thu 11-Jul-19 10:01:16

Probably not unless it was something simple. read a newspaper article and I was not impressed with the answers that Alexa gives or doesn't give. I would rather google several websites as I do now including some very good US ones as well as NHS or even a forum. If symptoms persist or I think it's something more serious I would contact my GP or the pharmacist at the local chemist.

sodapop Wed 10-Jul-19 17:30:09

Well if anyone is silly enough to consult Alexa on their medical symptoms they deserve everything they get.

suziewoozie Wed 10-Jul-19 17:17:49

I do wonder how many people go the GPS with easily answered questions though - I thought one problem was people going with a sniffle or sore throat? My guess would be that those sorts of people would still go the GPS

BlueBelle Wed 10-Jul-19 16:31:54

I m sure it’s not meant to take over emergencies Annibach just to help with doctors time with mundane, easy answered questions

Baggs Wed 10-Jul-19 16:25:54

Thank you, Gg.

Gonegirl Wed 10-Jul-19 16:19:11

Hope Mini Baggs is ok Baggs.

(Not so mini these days I guess smile)

Baggs Wed 10-Jul-19 16:05:37

I don't have Alexa and neither does my student daughter but perhaps something like this would be useful when (a) many students can't register with a GP in their university town because all the GPs have full lists already, (b) even when they do manage to register, surgery managers kick them off the GP's list when they go into temporary summer accommodation that's outside the GP's catchment area (which the actual GP treating them said wouldn't be a problem).

Just wondering. Not impressed with the GP system in Scotland's capital at the moment. Can you tell?

Hospital system has messed DD about too because of miscommunications. IF she can register with another GP she will need a fourth referral to even begin to sort something out. Ridiculous!