• Alysa Salzberg

Amazon: Online shopping, streaming video, and now, help at your next doctor’s appointment


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Being a doctor isn’t easy. Most of us probably imagine challenges like difficult diagnoses, busy days, and breaking bad news to patients, but there’s another problem that most doctors face: keeping records, notes, and even transcriptions of their interactions with their patients.


Some solutions for this already exist, like transcription services and on-site medical transcriptionists. But these have disadvantages, including cost. Now, there’s another option, thanks to technological advances and an internet behemoth.


Amazon Web Services has unveiled technology that will record a doctor and patient’s conversation and transcribe it directly into the patient’s medical records.


This would make things easier not only for doctors, but for patients, too, since their doctors would have more time and attention to devote to them during appointments.


But there are some serious potential downsides.


A major concern is whether the technology will be able to recognize similar words, such as “hyper” and “hypo”. Transcription errors are bad enough in general, but when it comes to medicine, they can be deadly. Amazon Web Services Vice President Matt Wood confirms that Amazon’s team has spent an enormous amount of time and energy making sure these kinds of errors won’t happen.


Since the service hasn’t been launched and widely used yet, there’s no proof either way. On the other hand, for US customers concerned about HIPAA restrictions, one concrete piece of good news is that the service is HIPAA eligible, with the customer making sure they’re compliant with HIPAA rules.


Read on for more information about Amazon’s venture into medical transcription.



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