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#36 – Generative AI personas in physiotherapy education

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In beta
#36 - Generative AI personas in physiotherapy education


In this conversation, Leanne Wiles and Dean Walker talk about their experiences using structured prompts with Claude and ChatGPT to create generative AI personas for students to build communication and reasoning skills. They made character profiles and prompts for the AI to act like patients with different health issues. Students then had open conversations with the AI to take patient histories.

Dean and Leanne both found that students quickly became immersed in the simulated patient conversations, enjoying the experience and demonstrating good communication skills. Claude was able to provide useful feedback to students on their performance following the interaction, going so far as to hint at questions the students had missed. Careful prompting and setting up the context was key to getting the most out of the AI interactions, for example, by giving Claude a defined persona/character that helped drive more natural-sounding conversations.

We agree that there is significant potential in using generative AI personas to provide students with more diverse and flexible practice experiences, especially for scenarios like breaking bad news or handling difficult patient interactions that can be difficult to role play reliably. While the current text-based interactions have value, we anticipate improvements in the future with chatbots that have more advanced conversational and multimedia capabilities.

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Leanne Wiles is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of Lincoln, transitioning from clinical practice to higher education in 2023. Her clinical career spanned musculoskeletal practice and persistent pain care, primarily working in NHS services. She has particular interests in person-centred communication, persistent pain and psychologically informed physiotherapy, and exploring these concepts with learners in higher education. Find Leanne on Twitter

Dean Walker is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of Lincoln, with a clinical background in Acute Respiratory Care. He specialises in Non-invasive Ventilation and the treatment of acutely unwell patients. Pedagogic interests encompass simulation in healthcare, enhancing non-technical skills through simulated experiences, and embracing innovative technologies. He is focused on embedding artificial intelligence and virtual reality to improve accessibility and scalability in pre-registration learning. And he’s committed to exploring cutting-edge approaches that enhance student engagement and prepare future healthcare professionals for the ever-evolving landscape of the field.

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