Amazon Echo Can Communicate Signs of Heart Attack, Stroke

Alexa can provide instructions for CPR, and the signs of heart attack and stroke.

The voice-activated Amazon Echo Device, named Alexa, can assist with a multitude of day-to-day things, such as setting an alarm, playing music, or looking things up online. For the first time, Alexa can now give individuals instructions on how to perform CPR, and identify the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke.

Identifying if someone is experiencing a heart attack or stroke is significant, because prompt medical care is crucial to preventing death or disability, according to a press release from the American Heart Association (AHA).

“Any system that can reliably reduce delays in medical care for cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke has the potential to improve health outcomes,” said Robert Neumar, MD, PhD, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

To utilize this new information, individuals with the device start by saying “Alexa, ask American Heart” how to perform CPR or the warning signs of a stroke or heart attack, as outlined by the AHA.

According to the press release, an American has a heart attack every 40 seconds, while approximately 2200 individuals die each day from cardiovascular disease. Since both require swift treatment, Alexa alerts the individual requesting the information to dial 911 immediately.

With Amazon Echo devices reaching 8.2 million users, and Google Home devices projected to reach 4.5 million users, educational information about serious conditions can be easier than ever to access, the AHA reported. This simple intervention has the potential to save money by averting death or disability.

“Anything we can do to have not only more bystanders do CPR but have them start sooner is likely to have an impact on survival,” Dr Neumar said.

Approximately 70% of heart attacks are experienced at home, but unfortunately, these individuals are half as likely to survive at home, compared with a public setting, according to the AHA. This is likely due to no one performing CPR at home.

“We need to create a culture where everybody is expected to be able to perform CPR who has the physical capability,” Dr Neumar said. “It’s not feasible to have everybody do a CPR course.”

Alexa discloses steps of Hands-Only CPR for an individual who collapses suddenly, which are to push hard and fast in the center of the chest at 100 to 120 beats per minute.

Shawn DuBravac, PhD, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association, said he can imagine a time when similar voice-activated technology are integrated into 911 operating systems, according to the release. A recent study indicated that half of communities do not have 911 dispatchers that are trained to deliver CPR instructions, which is the AHA’s recommendation.

As individuals become more comfortable with voice-activated devices, such as Alexa, the more likely they are to utilize the technology in serious, emergency situations, according to the AHA.

“When you can order a pizza, one would think certainly that you could request first responders,” Dr DuBravac concluded.