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AHS wellness tips added to Amazon Alexa and Google Home, flu clinic finder coming

WATCH ABOVE: Emily Mertz explains how AHS is offering more services through personal voice-activated devices.

Alberta Health Services has added more features to its Amazon Alexa and Google Home repertoire.

Now, Albertans can use the personal voice-activated devices to get a daily wellness tip and the latest health news as well as emergency room wait times.

“Today, with technology, we can deliver satisfying patient experiences that weren’t even imaginable a decade or two ago,” said Kass Rafih, the senior provincial director of innovation and digital solutions for AHS.

READ MORE: ‘Hey Alexa’: Alberta Health Services to offer ER wait time estimates through Amazon’s Alexa

“We were the first public health-care organization (in Canada) to deliver emergency department wait times and we were the first to also deliver them over personal voice-activated devices. We’re leveraging existing technology. We’re just finding new ways to deliver it.”

And, the AHS IT team is currently working on adding a flu clinic finder to the mix.

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“You’ll be able to ask Amazon for the closest flu clinic nearby,” Rafih explained.

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He said the IT team is continually looking to add more features and Albertans are encouraged to submit ideas for future additions. In fact, the daily wellness tip was an idea that was crowd-sourced.

“We’re always engaged in the community and if folks have ideas, [they can share] their ideas through social media on Twitter. Our handle is @AHS_media, and that’s how we got the idea for the daily wellness tip. It was a suggestion that came through Twitter,” he said.

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“We had a little bit of an ad campaign… and folks were commenting, saying, ‘This is super cool. When is it going to be available for Google Home?’ And we were letting them know that we were developing the Google Home feature as well.

“We started asking people what other services would you like to see? And there were ideas around providing daily wellness tips through maybe a yoga or wellness idea. So we took that idea, brought it back to the team, and in house, we develop these tips on a daily basis.”

READ MORE: How do emergency room wait times differ in Alberta’s 3 major cities?

The tips cover a wide range of topics, including nutrition, exercise, sleep health, weight management, injury prevention and stress management.

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“We want to empower people to be able to make better decisions in their health-care journey and that’s the goal of our entire team: to deliver those experiences with a patient-centred focus,” Rafih said. “We’re hoping that it just helps get them the information they need to stay well and active.”