To Chat or Not to Chat: How can Chatbots be used to positively impact medical professionals’ mental health?
Whilst largely agreed that medical professionals face straining work conditions & psychological harm, there is often a low utilisation of mental health treatment from this group due to concerns regarding career progression. Consequently, resident medical officers (RMO), or junior doctors, suffer some of the highest rates of emotional difficulties than other disciplines. Therefore, a non-traditional approach is needed, calling for exploration of new treatment interventions to support training medical professionals.
This study used data from 52 Postgraduate resident medical officers in their First Year and above who can run the app & are willing to provide information at time-points over a 12-week period. The RCT aimed at assessing the effectiveness of mental wellbeing monitoring being delivered via mobile app. The intervention group received the full mobile wellbeing programme, which also includes a chatbot ‘Delta’ which is based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) therapy.
The app randomized n=25 participants to the control group which received the standard daily mental wellbeing check-in and n=26 to the intervention group, who had the addition of a chatbot. The intervention group showed statistically significant increases in personal awareness & utilization of support options than control group participants. This RCT showed that a chatbot is an acceptable technology to measure and monitor mental health of RMO’s and leads to a 30% increased awareness of personal mental health. This enabled participants to seek support services 2 weeks earlier than the control group. This study lays the foundation for further research in e-mental health therapies for medical professionals.