How should technology providers, the medical community and healthcare regulators come together to ensure that chatbots provide beneficial outcomes for healthcare? What approaches and tools will promote innovation, protect society from harm and build consumer trust in the use of chatbots in healthcare?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being employed in many domains, including healthcare, and an emerging application within healthcare is the use of AI to create and deploy chatbots. A chatbot is an AI programme designed to converse with people via voice interfaces or text messages within websites, applications or instant messaging.
Chatbots can be used in many ways to engage with healthcare patients, including to navigate frequently asked questions, find a doctor or service, schedule appointments, facilitate symptom checking, conduct triage, prepare for procedures and adhere to post-discharge instructions. Chatbots can act as virtual assistants to physicians, lowering administrative burden and giving quick access to patient health records. These uses can result in better care management and customer engagement.
However, issues can arise, such as miscommunication between chatbots and customers, perception of reduced choices when interacting with chatbots, and customer preference for interacting with humans instead of chatbots. More serious issues include incorrect/poor guidance, wrong diagnosis, or failure to achieve timely interventions.
This project brings together stakeholders from multiple areas such as chatbot developers, chatbot platforms, the medical community, civil society, academia and healthcare regulators to design frameworks for governing chatbots. Underpinning this is the belief that robust regulation promotes consumer confidence, superior healthcare and opportunity for global adoption.
Activities are centred on three core objectives:
- Framing stakeholder conversations on regulating chatbots in a coherent and accessible manner
- Developing a framework to facilitate decisions about how to govern chatbots in healthcare
- Identifying and iterating innovative approaches and tools for governing chatbots that can be scaled up
Significant milestones achieved so far include:
- Enabling SMEs to “innovate without fear” by adopting the guidelines from the Chatbots RESET framework
- Empowering large businesses to “power AI deployments” rapidly by integrating the framework’s multi-stakeholder-curated principles and actions in their projects
- Facilitating governments to collaborate with AI companies to “deploy AI at scale” for population level health services
For more information on this project, contact email@example.com