Amazon Alexa and the Mayo Clinic team up to provide public health information

Alexa-Mayo Clinic

It’s no secret that Amazon Echo’s Alexa can help you with everything from emailing your boss, to implementing voice-activated commands, to playing your favorite show on a smart TV.

Now the voice assistant could even save your life.

The ecommerce giant now offers first-aid information via Alexa to assist with emergencies, thanks to a partnership with the Mayo Clinic. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, those who opt in to the Alexa skill known as Mayo Clinic First Aid can get information on a number of topics, including how to administer CPR, information on an illness, or instructions on how to use a medication. You can activate the functionality by saying: “Alexa, open Mayo First-Aid,” and go from there. The Alexa-Mayo Clinic partnership is available now for free.

“We provide health information in a print newsletter, digital newsletter, desktop web, mobile web, [and] Mayo Clinic app,” Jay Maxwell, a senior director in health information with Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, told the Star Tribune.  “We view this voice interface, specifically the Amazon Alexa application, as basically a new channel to provide that information.” 

Patients don’t need to have any connection with the Mayo Clinic in order to enable the skill. A number of hospitals have already adopted Alexa’s first-aid capabilities, as she can also help patients set up appointments, figure out their traveling requirements, and more.

The Mayo Clinic developed the skill using Amazon’s self-service Alexa Skills Kit, according to Amazon spokesman Daniel Gabis. “We’re excited that Mayo Clinic developed its health information skill for Alexa customers. Other developers such as WebMD have built skills for Alexa using our self-service Alexa Skills Kit,” Gabis said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune.

The service provided by the Mayo Clinic mostly involves basic information or simple procedures, as emergency situations will require someone to call 911 or get help from a doctor. Some of the ways that Alexa Mayo First-Aid can help you include instructions on how to treat a cut, or answers to common questions related to insect bites.

The app works for all Amazon Alexa devices. It also comes equipped with a 60-second audio news feed, aptly named the Mayo Clinic Flash Briefing for Amazon Alexa.