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Chatbots RESET: a framework for governing responsible use of conversational AI in healthcare

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Medical ethics Telehealth Digital health

Chatbots, or conversational artificial intelligence (AI) systems, are used increasingly by organizations to communicate with customers in a natural and easy-to-use way by embedding chatbots in websites, social network apps, smart home devices, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of chatbots in healthcare applications. As examples, both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control deployed chatbots for coronavirus information dissemination and symptom checking. So, too, did many governments and healthcare providers. Beyond the pandemic, the rate of adoption of chatbots in healthcare applications is likely to be sustained due to the access and cost benefits they enable.

The Chatbots RESET framework consists of two parts: (1) A set of 10 principles carefully selected from AI ethics and healthcare ethics principles and interpreted within the context of the use of chatbots in healthcare; and (2) Operationalization actions for each principle in the form of recommendations to implement in various stages of deployment of chatbots in healthcare.

The framework is an actionable guide for three groups of stakeholders to promote the responsible use of chatbots in healthcare applications: technology developers, healthcare providers and government regulators.

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