College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University

A RCT to Reduce Cardiopulmonary Re-hospitalizations

     This five-year, NIH/NHLBI-funded project, in collaboration with Boston Medical Center, will develop procedures and technologies for educating hospital patients about their conditions and post-discharge self-care, medications, and follow-up appointments, in an effort to reduce re-hospitalizations due to poor patient communication and patient non-compliance. We are developing a conversational agent that will conduct a bedside dialogue with patients immediately prior to hospital discharge. This intervention will be compared with a standard-of-care control condition in a randomized clinical trial involving 750 patients actually being discharged from Boston Medical Center.

     In a follow-on project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ("Virtual Patient Advocate to Reduce Adverse Drug Events"), we will also be developing an intervention that follows patients home from the hospital through to their first visit with their Primary Care Physician, using a PDA-based relational agent.


  • Bickmore, T., Pfeifer, L., and Jack, B. (2009) Taking the Time to Care: Empowering Low Health Literacy Hospital Patients with Virtual Nurse Agents Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Boston, MA. PDF
  • Bickmore, T., Pfeifer, L., and Paasche-Orlow, M. (to appear) Using Computer Agents to Explain Medical Documents to Patients with Low Health Literacy Patient Education and Counseling. PDF
  • Bickmore, T., Pfeifer, L. and Paasche-Orlow, M. (2007) Health Document Explanation by Virtual Agents Intelligent Virtual Agents '07, Paris. PDF


© 2006