Health Conversations

Back in 2016 we started working on chatbots with Eva, a Facebook Messenger chatbot. The project, bots4health, had as an objective the validation of conversational interfaces as good channels for delivering health messages and collecting health data.It has since served as a great sandbox for experimenting with human-chatbot interactions.

Bots4health at Ogilvy, NY in September 2018

Chatbots have a great potential in healthcare. In this presentation we shared our journey from web and mobile apps into conversational interfaces, the expectations of the public, some of the real-life challenges we face when building chatbots, and some of the changes needed in skills, tools and mindsets.


A paper about Conversational Health Agents

The medical paper is called Improving Access to Online Health Information With Conversational Agents: A Randomised Controlled Experiment. It was written by a group of scientists who studied a group of people who were asked to look for medical trials about specific diseases using a traditional keyword-based search engine and a conversational interface. They were then asked to do the same, making it a bit harder by adding criteria the trial had to match.
The sample for their study was of 89 people of an average of 60 years old (very interesting!) with a very good 50/50 gender balance and 23 people with low health literacy. A fifth of them had previous experience looking for clinical trials.
The main finding was that participants were definitely more satisfied using the conversational interface. Must be noted that looking at the description of the conversational interface it was an advanced one and probably a pleasure to use, with features like read-out-loud, bookmarking and different levels of detail.
Several studies have shown that traditional keyword search does simply not work for kids, the elder, or people who speak a different native language and that chatbots are useful in physical activity promotion, hospital discharge instruction, explanation of medical documents, and family health history-taking, amongst other use cases.

Ask Eva

Start a chat with Eva and she will send you periodic news, research papers and use cases about chatbots in healthcare.