Interactive conversational agents, also known as “chatbots,” are computer programs that use natural language processing to engage in conversations with humans to provide or collect information. Although the literature on the development and use of chatbots for health interventions is growing, important knowledge gaps remain, such as identifying design aspects relevant to health care and functions to offer transparency in decision-making automation.
This paper presents the protocol for a scoping review that aims to identify and categorize the interactive conversational agents currently used in health care.
A mixed methods systematic scoping review will be conducted according to the Arksey and O’Malley framework and the guidance of Peters et al for systematic scoping reviews. A specific search strategy will be formulated for 5 of the most relevant databases to identify studies published in the last 20 years. Two reviewers will independently apply the inclusion criteria using the full texts and extract data. We will use structured narrative summaries of main themes to present a portrait of the current scope of available interactive conversational agents targeting health promotion, prevention, and care. We will also summarize the differences and similarities between these conversational agents.
The search strategy and screening steps were completed in March 2022. Data extraction and analysis started in May 2022, and the results are expected to be published in October 2022.
This fundamental knowledge will be useful for the development of interactive conversational agents adapted to specific groups in vulnerable situations in health care and community settings.