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In JMIR human factors

BACKGROUND : Access to accurate information in health is a key point for caregivers to avoid medication errors, especially with the reorganization of staff and drugs circuits during health crises such as COVID 19. It is therefore the role of the hospital pharmacy to answer caregivers' questions. Some may require the expertise of a pharmacist, some should be answered by pharmacy technicians, but others are simple and redundant, and automated responses may be given.

OBJECTIVE : We aimed at developing and implementing a chatbot to answer questions from hospital caregivers, 24 hours a day, about drugs and pharmacy organization, and evaluated this tool.

METHODS : The ADDIE model: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation, was used by a multi-professional team composed of 3 hospital pharmacists, 2 members of the Innovation and Transformation Department, and the Information Technology (IT) service provider. Based on an analysis of the caregivers' needs about drugs and pharmacy organization, we designed and developed a chatbot. The tool was then evaluated before the implementation into the hospital intranet. Its relevance and conversations with testers were monitored via the IT provider's back office.

RESULTS : Needs analysis with 5 hospital pharmacists and 33 caregivers from 5 health services allowed us to identify 7 themes about drugs and pharmacy organization (such as opening hours and specific prescriptions). After a year of chatbot design and development, the test version obtained good evaluation scores: its speed was rated 8.2/10, usability 8.1/10, and appearance 7.5/10. Testers were generally satisfied (70%) and were hoping for the content to be enhanced.

CONCLUSIONS : The chatbot seems to be a relevant tool for hospital caregivers, helping them to get reliable and verified information they need on drugs and pharmacy organization. In the context of significant mobility of nursing staff during the health crisis due to COVID-19, the chatbot could be a suitable tool for transmitting relevant information related to drugs circuits or specific procedures. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such a tool has been designed for caregivers. Its development further continued by means of tests conducted with other users such as pharmacy technicians, and via the integration of additional data, before the implementation on the two hospital sites.


Daniel Thomas, de Chevigny Alix, Champrigaud Adeline, Valette Julie, Sitbon Marine, Jardin Meryam, Chevalier Delphine, Renet Sophie