Providers need strong campaigns to boost patient trust in coronavirus screening chatbots: study 

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While artificial intelligence-powered chatbots have the potential to relieve pressure on hospital contact centers – especially during the pandemic – the No. 1 factor driving patient response is perceptions of the technology's ability.

A team of Bloomington-based Indiana University and Philadelphia-based Temple University researchers conducted an analysis to better understand how users are responding to COVID-19 screening chatbots, according to a July 6 study published in the Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine.

The researchers performed an online experiment with 371 participants who viewed a video of a COVID-19 screening session between a hotline agent, either chatbot or human, and a user with mild or severe symptoms.

Results of the analysis showed a slightly negative perception of chatbots' ability; however, when the perceived ability of the chatbot is the same as a human agent, participants responded more positively to the chatbots.

"When chatbots are perceived to provide the same service quality as human agents, usersare more likely to see them as persuasive, be more satisfied, and be more likely to use them," the researchers concluded, adding "… to offset users' biases, a necessary component in deploying chatbots for COVID-19 screening is a strong messaging campaign that emphasizes the chatbot's ability."

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