Amazon Alexa now using First Databank drug information to answer med questions

Specialized answers about medication information were created specifically for the ambient voice-enabled service.
By Bill Siwicki
11:31 AM
Amazon Alexa now using First Databank drug information to answer med questions

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

First Databank, a vendor of drug and medical device knowledge that helps healthcare professionals make decisions, announced today that consumers now have access to a wide variety of drug information from FDB through simple queries via Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based ambient voice service.

A subset of FDB’s drug information, used for more than 40 years by healthcare professionals, now can be accessed by consumers from any Alexa-enabled device.

First Databank is debuting this technology the week before the big HIMSS20 Global Conference and will be highlighting it in booth 2559 at the event, March 9-13 in Orlando.

Authored specifically for Alexa

The Alexa initiative will leverage concise, clinical drug information authored specifically for Alexa by FDB clinicians, based on their review of the most relevant content from the company’s proprietary consumer drug information monographs.

Additionally, the project provides custom content that allows consumers to ask about a drug’s effects such as drug interactions, side effects, precautions and the drug’s class. The custom data file will provide information for Alexa customers in both English and Spanish and will be updated on a regular basis.

Some common medication-related queries that Alexa now will answer for consumers by tapping into FDB drug knowledge include:

  • “Alexa, what is Tylenol?”
  • “Alexa, what type of drug is ibuprofen?”
  • “Alexa, what are the side effects of sertraline?”
  • “Alexa, what is aspirin used for?"
  • “Alexa, does Zoloft interact with Aleve?”
  • “Alexa, is Advil safe for pregnant women?"
  • “Alexa, what’s the difference between Tylenol and Advil?"

Better patient outcomes

“People lead busy lives and voice provides a simple way to get helpful information about medications, including side effects and drug interactions – for themselves and the people they care for – and this information will complement advice from their medical and pharmacy teams,” said Bob Katter, president of FDB. “Ultimately, we believe that more informed consumers will lead to improved medication adherence, the reduction of adverse drug events and better patient outcomes.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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