Conversational AI in health: Design considerations from a Wizard-of-Oz dermatology case study with users, clinicians and a medical LLM

Brenna Li
Amy Wang
Patricia Strachan
Julie Anne Seguin
Sami Lachgar
Karyn Schroeder
Renee Wong
Extended Abstracts of the 2024 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 10


Although skin concerns are common, access to specialist care is limited. Artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted tools to support medical decisions may provide patients with feedback on their concerns while also helping ensure the most urgent cases are routed to dermatologists. Although AI-based conversational agents have been explored recently, how they are perceived by patients and clinicians is not well understood. We conducted a Wizard-of-Oz study involving 18 participants with real skin concerns. Participants were randomly assigned to interact with either a clinician agent (portrayed by a dermatologist) or an LLM agent (supervised by a dermatologist) via synchronous multimodal chat. In both conditions, participants found the conversation to be helpful in understanding their medical situation and alleviate their concerns. Through qualitative coding of the conversation transcripts, we provide insight on the importance of empathy and effective information-seeking. We conclude with design considerations for future AI-based conversational agents in healthcare settings.