The use of artificial intelligence and virtual reality in doctor-patient risk communication: A scoping review

Patient Educ Couns. 2022 Jun 12;S0738-3991(22)00275-0. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2022.06.006. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: While the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in medicine has been significant, their application to doctor-patient communication is limited. As communicating risk is a challenging, yet essential, component of shared decision-making (SDM) in surgery, this review aims to explore the current use of AI and VR in doctor-patient surgical risk communication.

Methods: The search strategy was prepared by a medical librarian and run in 7 electronic databases. Articles were screened by a single reviewer. Included articles described the use of AI or VR applicable to surgical risk communication between patients, their families, and the surgical team.

Results: From 4576 collected articles, 64 were included in this review. Identified applications included decision support tools (15, 23.4%), tailored patient information resources (13, 20.3%), treatment visualization tools (17, 26.6%) and communication training platforms (19, 29.7%). Overall, these technologies enhance risk communication and SDM, despite heterogeneity in evaluation methods. However, improvements in the usability and versatility of these interventions are needed.

Conclusions: There is emerging literature regarding applications of AI and VR to facilitate doctor-patient surgical risk communication.

Practice implications: AI and VR hold the potential to personalize doctor-patient surgical risk communication to individual patients and healthcare contexts.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Doctor-patient communication; Personalized communication; Shared-decision making; Virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Review