Penn State develops Amazon Alexa skill for breast cancer patients

University Park, Pa.-based Penn State College of Medicine built an Amazon Alexa skill to deliver care interventions to breast cancer patients in their own homes.

Four details:

1. Named Addressing Metastatic Individuals Everyday, or Nurse AMIE for short, the voice-driven capability lets patients connect with providers via Amazon's digital assistant Alexa.

2. Nurse AMIE interacts with patients to address four key symptoms: pain, fatigue, sleep and psychosocial distress such as anxiety and depression.

3. Patients can open the skill on an Amazon Alexa Echo Show device each day and are given a questionnaire about their current symptoms; the device then generates recommended interventions such as guided meditation sessions and exercise videos.

4. Penn State researchers are conducting a controlled trial with metastatic breast cancer patients to learn more about the usability of the skill. The team hopes to expand Nurse AMIE-type support for other health issues.

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