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Dr. Alexa - Digital Cancer Therapy Assistant

#DigitalHealth #SpeechAssistantforHealth #DigitalCancerAssistant

Digitalization and technical progress are bringing new opportunities - also for the healthcare system. Work with Takeda on innovative approaches for digital therapy support and address the question: How can speech assistants help manage chronic cancer and provide positive effects for the patient, the relatives, the treatment team and, through a more favorable course of disease, for payers and society?

  • ✅ Challenge completed
  • 🏁 Winner
    Congrats to Synthesis & Medical Informations Group
  • 🏆  Rewards
    15,000 € prize pool in the overall DE 4.0 project + invitation to the Federal Chancellery + promotion of further implementation + chance for further cooperation with Takeda
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Use Case is part of the DEUTSCHLAND 4.0 Challenge

Status Quo

In medical practices and clinics, digitization offers time savings and simplifications for both doctors and patients. Starting with online appointment bookings, telemedicine consultation hours, health apps on prescription, care robots, to the use of artificial intelligence to support imaging diagnostics - the possibilities are endless. Better networking and linking of patient internal data can also help to make diagnoses faster and monitor the course of disease or therapy more effectively.

A further trend in the health service is the self-information of patients. The "informed patient" informs independently about his illness and treatment possibilities - frequently on the internet with Dr. Google - and takes part then in view of participatory decision-making together with the physician in the common treatment planning.

On the one hand, this simplifies communication between doctors and patients, and on the other hand, there is a risk that patients may get false ideas from unchecked or incorrect sources.

Non-expert verified health information is not always easily accessible to patients - it can be difficult to identify trusted sources and, depending on the age of the patient, there may be difficulties in reading or using a computer.

Especially in oncology, there is a great need to keep up to date with diagnostic and therapeutic advances, some of which are developing very rapidly.

Oncological diseases, especially rare ones, are often complicated and the flood of information and technical terms used in diagnosis can overwhelm patients. For physicians, the time for patient discussions and explanations of basic knowledge about the disease is limited.

Language assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, offer a new digital channel to meet this need for information from patients when dealing with their illness.

The Alexa platform offers the advantage that here - within the framework of the so-called "Skills" (mini-programs similar to an app) - validated and balanced information on the current state of scientific knowledge is available to patients and their relatives - 24 hours a day, around the clock, regardless of the doctor's office hours. The advantage of the speech assistants is also the uncomplicated and technically non-intensive access to the information via speech, which is intuitive and provides immediate results


This results in a question of particularly high social relevance:

To what extent can language assistants such as Amazon Alexa provide assistance in the management of chronic cancers and thus have a positive impact on the patient himself/herself (patient is better informed, actively participates and benefits more from his therapy / better adherence can have a positive effect on the course of the disease), on the treatment team (doctor:in is supported, time saved) and, through a more favorable course of the disease, also on payers and society?

Furthermore, the question arises whether language assistants can offer more than "just" explaining information and technical terms. What would be further positive effects for the healthcare system? Can Alexa as a "talking therapy assistant/companion at home" contribute to early detection of symptoms, better adherence to therapy and/or health management in chronic diseases and coping with side effects?

Particularly relevant is moreover the involvement of the various direct stakeholders, such as patients, relatives and their medical treatment team, but also indirect stakeholders such as cost units.

Still questions or looking for inspiration?

You are looking for inspiration and want to learn methods to develop an innovative idea for this or any other use case?

Then take part in one of our freely accessible and digital workshops, which we offer throughout this project, and let experienced innovation coaches e.g. from Lufthansa Group show you approaches like Design Thinking and similar methodologies!

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