Icon finds its voice: Amazon’s vocal assistant to boost trial numbers

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/chombosan)
(Image: Getty/chombosan)

Related tags: Clinical data acquisition, Clinical research, Contract research organization

Icon is testing Amazon’s Echo Dot assistant in clinical trials, which it says could enhance the patient experience and boost enrolment numbers.

The voice-controlled personal assistant – which responds to the voice command ‘Alexa’ – can be used to deliver a patient-reported outcome instrument and collect patient responses, said Icon.

Spokesperson Willie Muehlhausen said using the voice assistant during clinical trials could also increase the ease and convenience of clinical trial participation.

“Ultimately all of us, sponsors, CROs ​[contract research organisation], sites and patients will benefit from these new technologies,” ​he told us. 

“We also see an opportunity to provide ePRO ​[electronic patient-reported outcome] services to additional patient populations that struggle with smart phones and tablets,” ​he added.

The spokesperson told us key challenges in implementing the technology include ensuring data privacy and providing language support, as the Echo Dot is only available in English and German.

“We are currently planning additional tests and projects to address these challenges,” ​said Muehlhausen.

While Icon does not yet have an agreement with Amazon, Muehlhausen told us it plans to approach the electronic commerce-focused firm.

“Now that we have demonstrated the eligibility of this technology, we will reach out to Amazon to collaborate on the development of their platform for use in clinical trials,” ​he said.

Related topics: Clinical Development

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