Founded By: PatchAi S.p.A.

Grant: € 70.000

Start date: 13 May 2020          End date: 12 May 2021

Partners: PatchAi S.p.A., Human Inspired Technology (HIT) Research Centre (University of Padova)

HTLab Involved People: Anna Spagnolli, Luciano Gamberini, Patrik Pluchino, Luigi Porto

In clinical trials, around 38% of people drops out because of the complications related to visits, tests, and the very setting. Technology can be useful in scientific research, as it can help make patients more involved and help them manage their therapy (e.g., reporting symptoms, drugs, filling out daily diary). PatchAI is an application based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), using a conversational robot (bot), which helps patients maintain the constancy needed to complete their treatments or clinical studies.

The project is meant to improve and develop further the user interfaces, its interaction features, and the behavioral-communicative model of the bot. The action of the HTLab research team will be twofold. On the one hand, it will concern phases of iterative design involving actual end-users considering different versions of the application with the primary objective to identify and solve potential usability issues and increasing the overall app accessibility and user experience related to its usage.

On the other hand, it will address the inclusion of the elements borrowed from the persuasive technologies framework in the bot’s “personality” aimed at behavioral change of the end users. Indeed, how a conversational agent talks to the user affects the likelihood that he/she will be compliant with the daily tasks related to the therapy that has to carry out with the application. Psychological and communicative tools will be employed to provide the conversational agent with a “flexible” personality so that it will be able to adapt to the personality of the different users.


Gamberini, L., Pluchino, P., Porto, L., Zordan, F., Monterosso, A., Palanivel, K., & Fontanari, A. (2021). Patchai: an e-health application powered by an AI virtual assistant to support patients in their clinical trials. In HCI International 2021-Posters: 23rd HCI International Conference, HCII 2021, Virtual Event, July 24–29, 2021, Proceedings, Part III 23 (pp. 315-322). Springer International Publishing.

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