In trying to solve a complex problem, it often helps to gather a wide range of expertise and insights. So Amazon Web Services (AWS) last year started a think tank called the AWS Opioid Crisis Council, bringing together people from nonprofits, business, government agencies, and health care. The group’s goal is to find new ways to apply technology, like artificial intelligence and the cloud, in the fight against opioid abuse.
One example: Using the cloud to collect vast data sets from widely scattered sources, so paramedics can quickly access recent medical records of patients who have overdosed. AWS also collaborated on a monitoring tool, now used in 42 states, that helps doctors and pharmacists stop opioid abuse by alerting them when a patient tries to fill prescriptions in more than one state.
Alexa, everyone’s favorite robot, is now savvy about opioids, too. Last summer, Amazon programmed the device to answer questions like “Alexa, what is an opioid?” — and “Alexa, where can I go for help with opioid addiction?”