Whether you’re dealing with nagging back pain or worried about your toddler’s sniffles, you can now get real-time advice from a doctor with help from Alexa.
Teladoc Health just announced that it’s partnering with Amazon on a service that allows Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show users to arrange a virtual doctor visit using Alexa voice commands. For now, the virtual visits are audio-only, although Teladoc says video calls are “coming soon.”
Starting today, you can say “Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor,” and Alexa will ask the reason for your visit and connect you to a Teladoc agent, who can arrange for a doctor to call you back on your Echo device.
Alexa’s new Teladoc abilities are intended for “non-emergency” medical needs, such as getting information on allergies or checking whether your child’s hacking cough is anything serious. If you have an emergency on your hands, you should still call 9-1-1, or–if you’re paying for Alexa Guard Plus–you can ask Alexa to summon emergency personnel.
Unsurprisingly, a Teladoc call via Alexa might cost you. While a virtual Teladoc visit could be free depending on your insurance, it might cost up to $75 a call if you don’t have any insurance coverage. Alexa can advise you on how much you’ll need to pony up before setting up a Teladoc visit.
Alexa has been gradually ramping up its skills when it comes to summoning help. For example, Alexa can call and/or text a designated “emergency contact” (such as a trusted friend or loved one) if anyone in the household says “Alexa, call for help.”
Amazon later added the ability for Alexa to connect users with emergency personnel as part of its Alexa Guard Plus service, which costs $5 a month or $49 a year (Alexa Guard Plus is also included with a Ring Protect Pro plan if you also have a Ring Alarm system). As with the “emergency contact” feature, you just say “Alexa, call for help” to reach an agent who can connect you with emergency responders.