Virtual agents as a service: Applications in healthcare

Martin H. Luerssen, Tim Hawke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual agents can engage users on a social-emotional level and have great potential in improving population health, so it would be advantageous if one could create and distribute them without requiring advanced technical skills. We present a flexible commercial platform for scripting conversational interactions with virtual agents that can be easily published through a mobile app available to everyone. Trials of two different agents that have been jointly developed with healthcare partners, one in mental health and another in heart failure, demonstrate post-intervention improvements in psychological distress and health knowledge, respectively. Encouraging rates of engagement with the agent have also been observed, although with a notable decline over time for the mental health coach – additional trials are scheduled to explore how to retain engagement more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Sydney, NSW, Australia, November 05 - 08, 2018
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781450360135
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2018 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 5 Nov 20188 Nov 2018


Conference18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2018


  • Content management system
  • Embodied conversational agents
  • Health apps
  • Relational agents
  • Self-management


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