Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 5286hoi.wong




342Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





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Calvo RA, Peters D, Moradbakhti L, Cook D, Rizos G, Schuller B, Kallis C, Wong E, Quint Jet al., 2023, Assessing the feasibility of a text-based conversational agent for asthma support: protocol for a mixed methods observational study, JMIR Research Protocols, Vol: 12, Pages: 9-9, ISSN: 1929-0748

BACKGROUND: Despite efforts, the UK death rate from asthma is the highest in Europe, and 65% of people with asthma in the United Kingdom do not receive the professional care they are entitled to. Experts have recommended the use of digital innovations to help address the issues of poor outcomes and lack of care access. An automated SMS text messaging-based conversational agent (ie, chatbot) created to provide access to asthma support in a familiar format via a mobile phone has the potential to help people with asthma across demographics and at scale. Such a chatbot could help improve the accuracy of self-assessed risk, improve asthma self-management, increase access to professional care, and ultimately reduce asthma attacks and emergencies. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study are to determine the feasibility and usability of a text-based conversational agent that processes a patient's text responses and short sample voice recordings to calculate an estimate of their risk for an asthma exacerbation and then offers follow-up information for lowering risk and improving asthma control; assess the levels of engagement for different groups of users, particularly those who do not access professional services and those with poor asthma control; and assess the extent to which users of the chatbot perceive it as helpful for improving their understanding and self-management of their condition. METHODS: We will recruit 300 adults through four channels for broad reach: Facebook, YouGov, Asthma + Lung UK social media, and the website Healthily (a health self-management app). Participants will be screened, and those who meet inclusion criteria (adults diagnosed with asthma and who use WhatsApp) will be provided with a link to access the conversational agent through WhatsApp on their mobile phones. Participants will be sent scheduled and randomly timed messages to invite them to engage in dialogue about their asthma risk during the period of study. After a data collection period (28

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