Amazon Echo and its future in healthcare

Image courtesy of the Amazon Media Room

I fell hard for Amazon Echo when I bought the first one for my home office. It kicked off a new hobby for me in tinkering with smart home technologies. Alexa is hooked up to lights around my house. I also have plans for more smart home projects in 2017. Lately, I’ve been doing some practical thinking about how Amazon Echo could influence the future of healthcare.

While I watched my own health insurance rates sky rocket, ObamaCare exchanges implode, and the lack of accountability for it all I’ve come to expect from our politicians, I do see a glimmer of hope in the creative applications of technology in healthcare especially in elder care and telehealth might help fix some of the damage being done by our politicians to the health insurance system in this country.

In particular, I’ve very interested in the potential of Amazon Alexa for medication reminders and other alerts for the elderly. Even Jeff Bezos sees a big future for Alexa in healthcare. There are already some Alexa users coming up with ingenious ways to use Alexa to care for their disabled and aging family members including opening up the family member’s world to audio books and being able to monitor the family member’s interactions with Alexa throughout the day.

On a related note, when QVC first began to sell to Amazon Alexa, I saw it as the device crossing a major adoption hurdle taking the device beyond early adopters, techies, and e-commerce die hards into a whole new audience. When Alexa gets into an even wider customer base, the charm of Alexa skills gives way to practical home applications and opens the door even further into potential healthcare applications.

David E. Williams in Amazon Echo’s Alexa has great potential in healthcare points out it’s a device that patients and doctors can use equally well and that a patient could use the same device at home that was used in the hospital. Alexa is hands free (a bonus for the elderly and injured.

While I did a quick search through the skills available in the Alexa app. I would describe the Health & Fitness category is still growing. However, I think I might have gotten a step ahead of myself. The Alexa Fund and some of the projects its funding or will fund are going to help dictate a lot about the future of Alexa in healthcare.

Final thoughts

What I think will be interesting to see if Amazon Web Services (AWS) and healthcare IT firms begin to build services offering around Amazon Alexa. That’ll be an inflection point when I think Amazon Alexa’s healthcare future will be undeniable. Alexa could join the league of other technologies like wearables to help improve healthcare outcomes.

Do you see a future for Alexa in healthcare? Why? Why not?

Hi! My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve worked with clients like NetApp, Dell, and NeuStar to develop technical, training, and thought leadership content. My articles have been published by TechBeacon, Projects@Work, CNET TechRepublic, Network World,,, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.

5 tips for managing writing samples as a technical writer

Image by Dương Trần Quốc via

With each new technical writing contract over the past few years, I seem to add a new non-disclosure agreement to my NDA folder.

While not every technical writer can work on articles and documents that are in the public domain, but there are things that you can do to make sure you have work samples to show potential employers including:

1. Do volunteer work

Look to volunteer work as a potential source for work samples you can show potential employers and clients. The opportunity might be right in front of you, or you might have to target a volunteer opportunity where your skills are needed, and you can add to your body of work. For example, I once taught a job hunting with social media seminar for my old church. I uploaded the PowerPoint slide deck to SlideShare so it can serve as a work sample for me.

2. Seek compromises with an NDA

If your employer or client is halfway reasonable, have a conversation with them about using the work you perform for them as work samples. It might even come down to an agreement on using selected parts of a document or redacting out portions of an overall document to shield any proprietary content that doesn’t need to get into the hands of their competitors. Seeking work out for use as samples later can be a touchy subject in organizations so you should always approach it carefully even with managers and clients you trust.

3. Never let work samples leave your sight

Before I began writing for publications and websites in the public domain, I was taught never to let my writing samples leave my sight during interviews and still believe in that rule.

4. Treat your personal projects like a professional

Medium, LinkedIn Publishing Platform, and WordPress are great equalizers when it comes to publishing and putting yourself online. One way to get past the work samples dilemma is to treat any work you put online as your absolute best and most professional work even it is a personal site.

5. Wait for the work to age

Not every document or work project stands the test of time, but I am a big advocate of saving everything because some work especially writing projects can still serve as a sample for you at a later date.

My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content creator living and working in the Washington, DC area. By day, I work in the solutions group of a major federal IT services firm developing thought leadership content. My articles about enterprise mobility, BYOD, and other iT topics have been published by Tom’s IT Pro, TechBeacon (An HPE initiative), Federal Computer Week, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.