Trust and acceptance of a virtual psychiatric interview between embodied conversational agents and outpatients

Pierre Philip, Lucile Dupuy, Marc Auriacombe, Fushia Serre, Etienne de Sevin, Alain Sauteraud, Jean-Arthur Micoulaud-Franchi
npj Digit. Med.. 2020-01-07; 3(1):
DOI: 10.1038/s41746-019-0213-y

Virtual agents have demonstrated their ability to conduct clinical interviews. However, the factors influencing patients’ engagement with these agents have not yet been assessed. The objective of this study is to assess in outpatients the trust and acceptance of virtual agents performing medical interviews and to explore their influence on outpatients’ engagement. In all, 318 outpatients were enroled. The agent was perceived as trustworthy and well accepted by the patients, confirming the good engagement of patients in the interaction. Older and less-educated patients accepted the virtual medical agent (VMA) more than younger and well-educated ones. Credibility of the agent appeared to main dimension, enabling engaged and non-engaged outpatients to be classified. Our results show a high rate of engagement with the virtual agent that was mainly related to high trust and acceptance of the agent. These results open new paths for the future use of VMAs in medicine.

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