College of Pharmacy Fellows, Students Develop Amazon Alexa Skill Addressing Credible Sources

From left to right and top to bottom: Austin Mondloch, PharmD, Matthew Sherman, PharmD, Chresten Hanna, Jacquese Reed, Phuong (Ngoc) Truong, Alyssa McIntosh

Drug Information Fellows Dr. Austin Mondloch and Dr. Matthew Sherman, working at the Christy Houston Foundation Drug Information Center within Belmont University, have formulated an Amazon Alexa Skill to give users precise information on what standards a website detailing health information must meet to be deemed credible.

Drs. Mondloch and Sherman crafted the skill as a follow up to the “Belmont Talk” they offered during the campus’s Presidential Inauguration Week regarding online misinformation, titled “How to Assess and Interpret Online Health Information.” With the influx of information at the hand of every consumer, it can be difficult to decipher what is reliable from what is not.

The Amazon Alexa skill “Check Online Sources” will perform the task of listing criteria for a credible website relaying health information as designated by Health on the Net (HON). HON is a nonprofit corporation that works with the World Health Organization (WHO) to certify quality of health information on the internet.

“We are trying to point people in the right direction in terms of where they get information, specifically wanting them to critically think when they are utilizing the internet,” said Dr. Mondloch.

The skill was developed in collaboration with the following Belmont University College of Pharmacy student pharmacists: Chresten Hanna 2022 PharmD Candidate, Jacquese Reed 2022 PharmD Candidate, Phuong (Ngoc) Truong 2023 PharmD Candidate, and Alyssa McIntosh 2024 PharmD Candidate.

Future steps for the project include incorporating specific HON qualified websites. Alexa would then be able to give a user specific examples of credible websites to visit for trustworthy health information online.