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What do patients want to know? An empirical approach to explanation generation and validation

Berry, D. C., Gillie, T. and Banbury, S. (1995) What do patients want to know? An empirical approach to explanation generation and validation. Expert Systems with Applications, 8 (4). pp. 419-428. ISSN 0957-4174

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0957-4174(94)E0033-Q


This article describes an empirical, user-centred approach to explanation design. It reports three studies that investigate what patients want to know when they have been prescribed medication. The question is asked in the context of the development of a drug prescription system called OPADE. The system is aimed primarily at improving the prescribing behaviour of physicians, but will also produce written explanations for indirect users such as patients. In the first study, a large number of people were presented with a scenario about a visit to the doctor, and were asked to list the questions that they would like to ask the doctor about the prescription. On the basis of the results of the study, a categorization of question types was developed in terms of how frequently particular questions were asked. In the second and third studies a number of different explanations were generated in accordance with this categorization, and a new sample of people were presented with another scenario and were asked to rate the explanations on a number of dimensions. The results showed significant differences between the different explanations. People preferred explanations that included items corresponding to frequently asked questions in study 1. For an explanation to be considered useful, it had to include information about side effects, what the medication does, and any lifestyle changes involved. The implications of the results of the three studies are discussed in terms of the development of OPADE's explanation facility.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:4677

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