Amazon’s Alexa is one of the most recognizable computer-generated personal assistants in the world. While most people know that an Alexa-enabled device can respond to simple requests, such as giving a weather forecast or setting reminders, the devices are evolving to perform more complex commands. Belmont University College of Pharmacy students are using the platform to aid in current health-related issues. Students in the course Introduction to Healthcare Informatics I—the first class in a series of elective courses offered within the healthcare informatics concentration—each developed a unique Alexa skill addressing contemporary healthcare topics.
In recent years, it has become increasingly critical to be able to reach the public through virtual platforms. The Alexa skills created by students provide access to meaningful health information without leaving the comfort of the users’ homes. Skill topics devised in the course ranged from information on drug interactions and adverse effects to physical activity options for geriatric patients to cognitive function tests. All skills developed were constructed using a combination of coding skills and Amazon functions to make the students’ designs come to life. Each student within the course had their skill published to Amazon’s comprehensive list of Alexa skills for general public use. The students’ skills can reach patients around the globe and make an impact on their medical journey.
The informatics concentration at Belmont is collaborating with interested organizations to provide competent student and graduate healthcare informaticians with clinical expertise and hopes to expand their program to include residents and/or fellows. Collaborating would be of no cost to the partnering organization and could help to advance Healthcare Informatics initiatives currently underway or in the planning phase. To find out more about partnering with the healthcare informatics team at the College of Pharmacy, please contact Dr. Anthony Blash.