Dr. Manny Alvarez: Do you want Amazon Alexa playing physician's assistant? I don't

In 10 years, you may be heading to Amazon.com for a lot more than shopping. You may be able to pick up your prescriptions at the Amazon Pharmacy and get that nasty rash checked out by a non-human – Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant system.

Paired with the Amazon Echo smart speakers and other devices, Alexa allows the user to interact by speaking to handle tasks like playing songs, podcasts and audio books; getting news, weather and traffic reports; setting alarms; making to-do lists; and more.

Over the past few months, I’ve heard rumblings and seen growing speculation online that Amazon is planning a big move into the health-care space.

In late July, CNBC ran a series of stories detailing a secret operation at the online retail giant, with the assembly of a research and development team called “1492” tasked with creating digital health-care applications. These applications could be targeted at streamlining electronic health records and telemedicine to more easily connect doctors with their patients.

Technological advancements are exciting, but they don’t come without their caveats. This trend of excessive computerization of medicine is not necessarily improving outcomes, and may in fact create more administrative work for medical staff.

The online retail giant began to dip its toe in the proverbial waters of health-care in 2016 when it acquired wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least a dozen states in order to sell medical supplies to businesses.

So what’s next? Will we one day be triaged by Alexa before we even get to see a nurse?

Some hospitals, like Boston Children’s have already started experimenting with “virtual assistants,” using Amazon’s voice-recognition software system to aid in everything from answering questions and pulling up medical records to snapping photos in the operating room, according to a report from STATNews.com.

While there’s no doubt voice-recognition software may be helpful in some scenarios at a hospital, let’s leave the medicine to the professionals.

Technological advancements are exciting, but they don’t come without their caveats. This trend of excessive computerization of medicine is not necessarily improving outcomes, and may in fact create more administrative work for medical staff.

Take, for example electronic medical records (EMRs). I would argue that EMRs are essentially the gateway for tech companies looking to get involved in health care. But over the years, studies have shown the reviews are mixed on whether or not EMRs actually improve outcomes. As it turns out, they may not be the cost-cutting cure-all the health-care industry so desperately needs.

As a practicing physician, the thought of one day working for the department obstetrics and gynecology for the Amazon Medical Center is a bitter pill to swallow.

I know, I know, I’m not as hip as the millennials – the ones we have to thank for this new age of tech visionaries putting the future in our hands at the touch of a button. And by doing so, feeding the growing online retail behemoth that continues to crush competition and put small businesses out of business.

Believe it or not, I still like to talk to people, read hardcover books, play records and go to my local drug store to have a conversation with my pharmacist. All crazy, outdated ideas, I know.

But allowing Amazon to get between doctors and their patients may not necessarily improve health care, and it will spell the end of private practice as we know it.