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In BMC medical education

INTRODUCTION : Academic departments universally communicate information about their programs using static websites. In addition to websites, some programs have even ventured out into social media (SM). These bidirectional forms of SM interaction show great promise; even hosting a live Question and Answer (Q&A) session has the potential for program branding. Artificial Intelligence (AI) usage in the form of a chatbot has expanded on websites and in SM. The potential use of chatbots, for the purposes of trainee recruitment, is novel and underutilized. With this pilot study, we aimed to answer the question; can the use of an Artificially Intelligent Chatbot and a Virtual Question-and-Answer Session aid in recruitment in a Post-COVID-19 era?

METHODS : We held three structured Question-and-Answer Sessions over a period of 2 weeks. This preliminary study was performed after completion of the three Q&A sessions, in March-May, 2021. All 258 applicants to the pain fellowship program were invited via email to participate in the survey after attending one of the Q&A sessions. A 16-item survey assessing participants' perception of the chatbot was administered.

RESULTS : Forty-eight pain fellowship applicants completed the survey, for an average response rate of 18.6%. In all, 35 (73%) of survey respondents had used the website chatbot, and 84% indicated that it had found them the information they were seeking.

CONCLUSION : We employed an artificially intelligent chatbot on the department website to engage in a bidirectional exchange with users to adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic. SM engagement via chatbot and Q&A sessions can leave a favorable impression and improve the perception of a program.

Yi Peter K, Ray Neil D, Segall Noa


Artificial intelligence, Graduate medical education, Innovation and technology, Recruitment, Social media