Virtual patients presented through AI-embedded social robots: a novel approach for enhancing the acquirement of clinical reasoning skills

Within the frame of this project, we employ artificial intelligence and a social robotic platform to create a novel series of virtual patients. Those will be used to enhance clinical reasoning skills and facilitate interprofessional and communicative competences in learning.

Furhat is a social robot that consists of a physical head and software that allows the robot to have conversations with one or several individuals at the same time [1]. Furhat has been used for several purposes, e.g. in an exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm. The robot played a game together with the visitors in a three-way conversation [2]. Furhat has also been used during a four-week long time period at the airport in Frankfurt, where the robot answered passengers’ questions regarding flight delays or cancellations, or directions to various stores and restaurants. Another interesting way of applying social robotics is through social simulation, by programming the robot to act like a human in order to create a training platform [3]. This has previously been used to simulate an individual with psychological disorder to train psychology students [4]. 

The aim of this project is to use Furhat as a novel platform for virtual patients in order to train students within health educational programmes. Furhat’s ability to interact with several individuals at the same time will allow us to use the platform as a tool not only for enhancing the acquirement of clinical reasoning skills, but also for facilitating interprofessional and communicative skills.

Check out this video for the preliminary applications of the modality.

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