Usability of conversational agents by patients with inadequate health literacy: evidence from two clinical trials

J Health Commun. 2010;15 Suppl 2:197-210. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2010.499991.


Embodied Conversational Agents (ECA) are computer-animated characters that simulate face-to-face conversation with patients. These agents can be programmed with best practices in human-human health communication and used for automated health education and behavior change counseling interventions. Evidence is presented from two ongoing clinical trials demonstrating that patients at different levels of health literacy find these agents acceptable and easy to use for automated health communication interventions. Innovative computer interface systems can be used to ensure that inadequate health literacy not serve as a barrier to interventions using health information technology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aftercare
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automation
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Walking
  • Young Adult