'Hey, Alexa! How's my blood pressure?'

By | December 12, 2018

Amazon is teaming up with Omron Healthcare, which makes blood pressure monitors, as it looks for new ways to bring its voice technology into health care.

Amazon makes a deeper push into health and wellness in many parts of the company. CNBC reported in May that Amazon has an Alexa team staffed with more than a dozen people focused on applications ranging from maternity care to chronic disease. In the summer of 2017, the company worked with drugmaker Merck to offer a prize to developers building Alexa skills to help people with diabetes.

Omron’s blood pressure monitor, which sells on Amazon’s marketplace among other channels, can now integrate with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant to help people better manage their disease.

“We have the first (Amazon) Alexa skill to connect to a blood pressure monitor,” said Omron Healthcare’s CEO Ranndy Kellogg. “If you ask for a blood pressure reading, it will look for our app.”

Users set up the system by pairing their Omron cuff to the company’s mobile app. From there, they can ask Alexa to connect, and then request a reading of their latest blood pressure results, or calculate their average readings and compare levels throughout different times of the day.

Patients can also have Alexa remind them to take their blood pressure in case they frequently forget.

Kellogg said his team worked “extremely closely” with Amazon to build out the skill.

“My team here who wrote the skill worked hand-in-hand with Amazon’s Alexa and Echo teams to build the skill, test it, and even add new features as Amazon makes them available to health care companies,” he explained. Omron used the Alexa Skills Kit, which includes tools and documentation for developers.

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Omron Healthcare isn’t the only company selling blood pressure devices on Amazon’s marketplace.

Amazon in October worked with a company called Arcadia Group to offer an exclusive brand of home health products called Choice, which include blood pressure and blood glucose monitors.

Amazon declined to comment.

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