- The Mayo Clinic is providing first aid advice via Amazon’s Alexa digital voice assistant, the Star Tribune reported.
- Once enabled with the free Mayo Clinic First Aid program, people with Amazon devices like Echo and Echo Dot can ask Alexa for assistance treating a wound or putting salve on a burn or assessing someone who isn’t breathing. People seeking information about CPR will be told perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation for one minute and then call 911 if the victim doesn’t respond.
- Mayo developed the program using Amazon’s self-service Alexia skills kit. A disclaimer states that Mayo Clinic First Aid should not be used in a life-threatening medical emergency.
Voice assistants have become a hot item in health IT. At their best, they can eliminate the need for physician interaction, making them ideal for paraplegics, the blind and others who have trouble using a keyboard or touchscreen.
Three years ago, HealthTap launched TalkToDocs, a standalone app based on its proprietary Health Operating System. The app combines HealthTap’s vast library of physician knowledge with artificial intelligence and a voice-activated interface.
Last year, Orbita launched the Voice Experience Designer to make it easier to create conversational experiences based on the cloud-based Alexa platform. The idea is to construct conversations in a way that providers can encode their care protocols into voice assistance programs, Nathan Treloar, co-founder and president of Orbita, told Healthcare Dive in January.
The potential market for voice-assisted devices in healthcare is large. Beyond individuals with physical limitations, the technology could help the elderly age at home by enabling virtual visits with caregivers and loved ones. That could lead to better health outcomes by helping to reduce isolation and depression.