Acorda Launches Interactive and Talking ‘MS Awareness Facts’ Alexa Service for March

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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In recognition of multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness month, Acorda Therapeutics has launched its Alexa skill, called MS Awareness Facts.  The interactive voice-controlled service allows users to ask Amazon Alexa for information regarding MS and its debilitating symptoms.

Amazon Alexa is a cloud-based service that enable customers to interact in an intuitive way — by speaking to it. Through voice commands, users pose questions to Alexa, such as “Alexa, start MS Awareness” or “Alexa open MS Awareness.” Alexa will arbitrarily choose from one of nearly 50 facts and tips about MS in the system, and read the response aloud.

Because it works in the cloud, Alexa is also always getting smarter. The more the customers who use it, the more it adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of using this new technology to connect with patients,” Michael Russo, executive director, corporate digital strategy & innovation, said in a press release. “Education is an important component of each person’s fight against multiple sclerosis. As we move towards becoming an increasingly digital society, it’s important that we provide solutions that match the way people live and work, and in this case that means voice search.”

The content of the MS Awareness Facts skill comes in part from the Acorda’s MS self – Multiple Sclerosis App for MS Patients.

Acorda is also the developer of a team on Charity Miles, a free app for iPhone or Android. The app allows users to raise funds for charity through activities such as biking, running, or walking. Users can be part of Acorda’s team and download the app by searching for #MSAwareness. Members of the Acorda team may choose an MS charity to receive the money raised.

With March being the MS Awareness Month, organizations including the MS Association of America, the National MS Society, and the MS Foundation are devoting efforts to calls for awareness about MS and to expanding knowledge, support and understanding of this debilitating disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

To read more about Alexa, and other apps for MS, read Ed Tobias’ column: “Alexa, Tell Me About MS.”

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