Digital voice assistants are taking over the world. Okay, maybe not, but it sure seems that way. It seems that everywhere you go these days, you are within earshot of an Amazon Echo or similar device. One reason for their rapid acceptance is that they provide useful services at a low cost. There are even skills to help with health and medical applications, such as monitoring a baby’s breathing or supporting pre- and post-operative patients.

First Databank (FDB) has announced a new Amazon Alexa skill that provides answers to questions about medications. The system relies on a subset of the company’s extensive database of drug information. The data includes information about possible interactions with other drugs, potential side effects, and precautions. The system will respond to questions in both English and Spanish.

Designed to complement information and advice provided by physicians and pharmacists, the system is intended to increase patient knowledge and engagement. Users do not have to install or configure their device for this new skill; it is automatically available. Try asking “What is aspirin used for?” to see how it works.