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Special Issue on Conversational Agents for Healthcare and Wellbeing

Kocaballi, A. Baki and Laranjo, Liliana and Clark, Leigh and Kocielnik, Rafał and Moore, Robert J. and Liao, Q. Vera and Bickmore, Timothy (2022) Special Issue on Conversational Agents for Healthcare and Wellbeing. ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, 12 (2). Art. No. 9. ISSN 2160-6455. doi:10.1145/3532860.

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Conversational agents (CAs) are systems that interact with humans through natural language user interfaces. They include systems with a range of conversational capabilities and modalities. For example, there are text- or voice-only question-answering interactions such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, and there are also multimodal conversational AI agents that can engage users in long-term dialogues. Advances in speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision have resulted in a greater acceptance and use of CAs. CAs have already started to play important roles in various healthcare settings, including assisting clinicians during consultations, assisting consumers in changing health behaviours, and helping patients such as the elderly in their living environments. There have been several systematic reviews on the use of CAs in health and wellbeing recently. Although the field still appears to be nascent, the emerging evidence has shown user acceptance of CAs in the healthcare domain as well as the early promises in boosting healthcare outcomes in both physical and mental health. Despite the increasing adoption and the benefits of using CAs to support health and wellbeing, the review studies also revealed (i) patient safety was rarely examined, (ii) health outcomes were inadequately measured, and (iii) no standardised evaluation methods were employed. There were also limitations in reporting the technical implementation details of CAs used, making the replicability of prior studies problematic. In addition to addressing some of the current challenges and limitations, this special issue features cutting-edge research on designing, developing, and evaluating CAs for health and wellbeing that aim to improve health outcomes and services, and satisfy unique application needs (e.g., safety, trust, and user experience). The seven articles included in this special issue cover many application areas ranging from mental health and social support to information seeking to coaching. Amongst the accepted articles, mental health and social support themes represented the primary research foci. The articles also covered different population groups including older adults, young adults, and homeless people. Based on their foci, we have grouped the articles in this special issue by three areas: mental health, older adult wellbeing, and social support and coaching.

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Kocielnik, Rafał0000-0001-5602-6056
Additional Information:We would like to especially acknowledge the hard work of all of our authors, as well as the team of referees who carefully reviewed each paper, providing valuable feedback. And a special thanks goes to Michelle Zhou, the Editor in Chief (EiC) of ACM TiiS, and Liang Gou, the Assistant to the EiC, for their encouragement and help to publish this issue.
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220823-628154700
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116423
Deposited By: Melissa Ray
Deposited On:29 Aug 2022 23:40
Last Modified:29 Aug 2022 23:40

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