The CETL EdTech Innovations Team is currently developing a conversational agent, or chatbot, that will mimic a patient-provider dialog utilizing the five skills of an empathetic conversation. This innovative technology-enhanced teaching tool will support student learning through an artificial intelligence (AI) natural language processing (NLP) platform, utilizing an intent script design framework.

Research has shown that empathy improves the patient-provider relationship, leading to better clinical outcomes. Our chatbot, pre-loaded with patient case scenarios, will simulate patient conversations and engage in a dialog with medical students who will play the role of the medical provider. This will allow students to practice their Communication Skills and prepare for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) module.

As students prepare for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), the chatbot (pre-loaded with patient case scenarios) will portray the role of the patient and converse with the students who play the role of the medical provider. This learning technology and conversation role-play assists the students in practicing the Communication Skills necessary to pass the related OSCE module.

The chatbot’s user interface (UI) simulates a telemedicine visit where an AI-patient is connected to a patient-case profile. Using the magic of generative AI, the AI-patient converses with the practitioner (student) in this simulated role-play experience. The patient chart and conversation objective are also present on the screen so that the student-provider can review the details during the conversation.

The backend code reviews the student’s conversation in real-time and checks off the benchmark empathy requirements assuring that the student meets all necessary levels of empathy according to the NURS framework. When the conversation is complete, and all boxes have been checked, the AI-patient thanks the student/practitioner for the conversation before ending the call.

The student can then return to the virtual waiting room where other AI-patients are patiently waiting in the queue.

The empathy bot technology can be used in the classroom or at home and across a variety of device platforms. The app will be available via browser window, and will also be available in the Apple Store and the Google Play store, allowing access to Apple and Android mobile device operating systems.

Our intent script design framework will ensure that the chatbot maintains the highest level of accuracy in portraying realistic patient-provider dialog. We are confident that our chatbot will be a valuable asset to WesternU students and will help them become better providers in the future. We look forward to introducing this innovative chatbot technology to our WesternU students and helping them to achieve their goals.

*If you are interested in learning more about this project, please email