Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Human Genetics

First Advisor

Erin Ash

Second Advisor

Lindsay Bailey

Third Advisor

Tara Schmidlen


Chatbots are artificial intelligence programs designed to mirror human conversation via text or speech and have quickly been integrated in medicine, including genomics and genetic counseling. Much of the literature has primarily focused on participants' experiences and attitudes on the use of chatbots, with limited knowledge surrounding the perspectives and opinions of providers. Geisinger and Invitae co-developed a HIPAA-compliant prenatal pre-visit educational chatbot that provides routine patient education on genetic principles and genetic tests that are performed during the first and second trimester of pregnancy. Thirteen out of 310 patients who completed the chatbot were consented and interviewed to explore patients’ experiences. Patients were all females, with an average of at least one live birth, and an average age of 31 years. Twelve out of 13 patients who completed the phone interview reported that they were in their first trimester of pregnancy. Qualitative analysis of transcripts revealed three main themes: (a) attitudes, (b) value of information, and (c) format. In addition, an electronic survey was developed and administered to 95 Geisinger OBGYN providers to assess their attitudes and opinions about the chatbot. Sixteen providers completed the electronic survey. The majority of patients and providers expressed favorable attitudes about the chatbot, recognizing it as an easy, quick, and user-friendly method to communicate important information about genetic testing. The accessible nature of chatbots offers a pragmatic and efficient approach for patients to receive important information about their genetic health.