Health insurer nib has launched an Alexa skill for customers to find nearby health providers and answer common insurance queries.
After enabling the skill on their Amazon device, users can ask for the dentists, GPs and optometrists in their area as well as local specialists, such as cardiologists and ENT surgeons. By enabling location sharing, users can find out the distance to the medical professional they seek and get details sent to their phone.
The skill also provides answers to frequently asked health insurance questions and offers daily health tips.
“At nib we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to empower our members to make better choices when it comes to their healthcare. Our Alexa Skill will help connect Australian households to our First Choice and MediGap network of providers simply by using their voice,” said nib chief information officer Brendan Mills.
“This will provide them with ease of access to a broad network of doctors, specialists or dentists helping them to make more informed decisions when searching for the right health provider,” he said
The first phase of the Alexa skill offering gives users access to more than 21,000 medical providers, including GPs and specialists included in nib’s MediGap network. Users can also find more than 3,800 ancillary providers such as dentists and optometrists, including nib dental and eyecare centres.
The company said it is planning to roll out similar functionality to Google Assistant and Siri “in the future”.
The company developed nib’s ‘voice’ in partnership with digital design and voice experience agency, VERSA.
“We worked with the nib project team to ensure that users would be able to get the most out of nib’s excellent provider network by simply asking,” said VERSA managing director, Jonny Clow.
“It’s an exciting time in Australia’s voice experience landscape when forward-thinking companies like nib are dedicated to improving their customers’ lives with exceptional initiatives like this,” he added.
Alexa, what are other businesses doing?
A number of Australian businesses have rolled out Alexa skills to provide services via voice to customers and staff.
Earlier this year, legal technology company Smarter Drafter used Alexa to build aprototype virtual lawyerthat it says can create legal documents instantly like a real human.
Westpac enables customers to access their account balance, recent spending history, and reward points through Alexa. NAB has also launched the same service on the Alexa platform.
Last year CoastalWatch launched a skill for surfers to ask aloud for surf reports and weather forecasts around Australia.
A number of firms are also delivering services via Amazon’s Echo Spot device which has a video interface.
SkyNews, ABC News in Australia and 1 News in New Zealand are all using it to broadcast video ‘flash briefings’ of the news in response to the command “Alexa, what’s the news?”; Fox Sports is similarly offering sport round-ups with accompanying video; whileCommonwealth Bank of Australia is also providing daily market updates from its stockbroking brand CommSec via the screen.