Medical information is notoriously difficult to convey to patients because the content is complex, emotionally sensitive, and hard to explain without recourse to technical terms. We describe a pilot system for communicating the contents of electronic health records (EHRs) to patients. It generates two alternative presentations, which we have compared in a preliminary evaluation study: the first takes the form of a monologue, which elaborates the information taken from the patient’s EHR by adding explanations of some concepts and procedures; the second takes the form of a scripted dialogue, in which the content is recast as a series of questions, answers and statements assigned to two characters in the dialogue, a senior and a junior nurse. Our discourse planning method designs these presentations in tandem, first producing a monologue plan which is then elaborated into a dialogue plan.
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