Identifying research gaps : a review of virtual patient education and self-management

Brucker-Kley, Elke (ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland) ; Kleinberger, Ulla (ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics, Winterthur, Switzerland) ; Keller, Thomas (ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland) ; Christen, Jonas (Zurich University of the Arts, Zurich, Switzerland) ; Keller-Senn, Anita (Cantonal Hospital Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland) ; Koppitz, Andrea (School of Health Sciences, HES-SO Fribourg)

BACKGROUND: Avatars in Virtual Reality (VR) can not only represent humans, but also embody intelligent software agents that communicate with humans, thus enabling a new paradigm of human-machine interaction. OBJECTIVE: The research agenda proposed in this paper by an interdisciplinary team is motivated by the premise that a conversation with a smart agent avatar in VR means more than giving a face and body to a chatbot. Using the concrete communication task of patient education, this research agenda is rather intended to explore which patterns and practices must be constructed visually, verbally, para- and nonverbally between humans and embodied machines in a counselling context so that humans can integrate counselling by an embodied VR smart agent into their thinking and acting in one way or another. METHODS: The scientific literature in different bibliographical databases was reviewed. A qualitative narrative approach was applied for analysis. RESULTS: A research agenda is proposed which investigates how recurring consultations of patients with healthcare professionals are currently conducted and how they could be conducted with an embodied smart agent in immersive VR. CONCLUSIONS: Interdisciplinary teams consisting of linguists, computer scientists, visual designers and health care professionals are required which need to go beyond a technology-centric solution design approach. Linguists’ insights from discourse analysis drive the explorative experiments to identify test and discover what capabilities and attributes the smart agent in VR must have, in order to communicate effectively with a human being.

Article Type:
Recherche appliquée et développement Santé HEDS-FR
13 p.
Published in:
Technology and Health Care
Numeration (vol. no.):
2021, pp. 1-13
Appears in Collection:

 Record created 2021-06-17, last modified 2021-07-01

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