Conversational assistants could be used to improve African American health around COVID-19

By | December 1, 2020
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hand holding mobile phone with medical graphic
(M Health Lab)

U-M researchers say employing a conversational assistant could be one way to narrow the gap in health disparities impacting the African American community, particularly around the current COVID-19 pandemic. Lionel Robert, associate professor at the School of Information and senior author of a study in the journal Digital Government: Research & Practice, says a technological solution could keep economics, social issues, mistrust, and privacy concerns from blocking African Americans’ access to care.

“African Americans traditionally have had less access to health care and less trust in those that provide health care. As such, African Americans are less likely to have access to health care needed to quickly diagnose and treat COVID-19,” says Robert. He believes a properly designed and deployed CA could help address issues of distrust in the African American community and be a source of credible health information and advice.