Within Clinic Reliability and Usability of a Voice-Based Amazon Alexa Administration of the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ 9)

Jason Beaman, Luke Lawson, Ashley Keener, Michael L. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over the last two decades, metric-based instruments have garnered popularity in mental health. Self-administered surveys, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ 9), have been leveraged to inform treatment practice of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to measure the reliability and usability of a novel voice-based delivery system of the PHQ 9 using Amazon Alexa within a patient population. Forty-one newly admitted patients to a behavioral medicine clinic completed the PHQ 9 at two separate time points (first appointment and one-month follow up). Patients were randomly assigned to a version (voice vs paper) completing the alternate format at the next appointment. Patients additionally completed a 26-item User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ) and open-ended questionnaire at each session. Assessments between PHQ 9 total scores for the Alexa and paper version showed a high degree of reliability (α =.86). Quantitative UEQ results showed significantly higher overall positive attitudes towards the Alexa format with higher subscale scores on attractiveness, stimulation, and novelty. Further qualitative responses supported these findings with 85.7% of participants indicating a willingness to use the device at home. With the benefit of user instruction in a clinical environment, the novel Alexa delivery system was shown to be consistent with the paper version giving evidence of reliability between the two formats. User experience assessments further showed a preference for the novel version over the traditional format. It is our hope that future studies may examine the efficacy of the Alexa format in improving the at-home clinical treatment of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Amazon Alexa
  • Depressive disorder, major
  • IoT
  • Mental health
  • Patient health questionnaire
  • Voice recognition


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