Conversations For Health

Designed for healthcare organizations, antibiotic stewardship leaders, healthcare professionals, family support providers, patients, and parents.

Engage in practice conversations with virtual humans and build your skills to lead real-life health conversations. The four simulations are designed to help improve physician–patient communication, address the overuse of antibiotics, and develop parenting skills that promote healthy child development.

The simulations were developed by Kognito with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and are available at no cost. We encourage you to experience the conversations, use them to build skills and change behaviors, or to conduct further research. Please don’t forget to share your feedback.

Choose a Conversation

Primary Care Office Visit: Antibiotics (Physician) Play the role of the physician talking to a virtual patient. See how well you do in building trust, collaborating on a treatment plan, and addressing the patient’s request for antibiotics.

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Primary care is changing. The need to improve the quality of care and lower costs requires healthcare providers to increase their focus on the patient experience. We know that collaborating with patients builds trust and increases adherence and patient satisfaction. Research also shows that empathy and motivational interviewing techniques can improve our efforts to collaborate with patients. Yet communication at this level may be difficult to accomplish during a brief office visit

In this simulation, you will play the role of Dr. Wei and conduct an office visit with Laura. Laura is a mom who has been coughing for a week and believes that antibiotics can help her get better quickly. Your task is to engage Laura in a conversation about her condition and health goals…and then to collaborate with her on a treatment plan that she understands and is motivated to follow.Start

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Primary Care Office Visit: Antibiotics (Patients) Play the role of the patient talking to a virtual physician. Learn about the proper use of antibiotics, how to make sure you get answers to your questions, and leave the office with a plan that works for you.

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Making the most of an office visit with your healthcare provider—your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse—is really important to your health. But sometimes having a conversation with your provider can be hard to do. It may feel uncomfortable to ask questions, share concerns, or even disagree with your doctor.

In this simulation, you will play the role of Laura and decide what to say to your virtual physician, Dr. Wei. Laura is a mom who has been coughing for a week and has called in sick for the past three days. She is worried that the cough is a sign of something more serious that may require antibiotics. As Laura, your task is to provide Dr. Wei with a clear understanding of your illness; to ask Dr. Wei questions so that you understand everything he says, and to work with Dr. Wei on a plan you are both satisfied with. Start

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Building Family Bonds: A Virtual Home Visit Playing the role of the family support provider, learn to coach a single parent how to read with her son.

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One of the most important goals for family support providers, when working with families during a home visit, is to give parents the skills and motivation to use what you teach them when you’re not there. In this simulation, you will play the role of Sara, a family support provider, and decide what to say to Christina (the mom) and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, Oliver. As Sara, your goal is to coach Christina on how to read with her son in a way that will work for her. Start

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Calm Parents, Healthy Kids Playing the role of the parent, learn how to manage the behavior of your 2-5-year-old child during common stressful situations.

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Early childhood is a critical developmental period during which strong parent-child bonds can have a major impact on lifelong health and well-being. Yet parenting at this time can be incredibly challenging—young children are still learning to follow directions, be patient and wait their turn, manage their emotions, and understand the adults in their lives. It takes practice to develop the patience and calm to manage stressful parenting situations, which is key to healthy social and emotional development in childhood.

In this simulation, you will play the role of the parent and learn how to be responsive to your child in a calm and loving way during a series of common situations for parents of 2– to 5– year olds. These scenarios include managing your child’s behavior on the playground, in the supermarket, while you’re on the phone, and when you need to leave home on time. Start

By viewing this simulation, you agree to these Terms and Conditions


Research Synopsis NYU Pilot Study on Primary Care Office Visit: Antibiotics

The study examined the potential utility of two newly developed virtual human role-play simulations designed to promote effective communication and collaborative decision-making between healthcare providers and patients in order to improve health outcomes, including over-prescribing of antibiotics. In the study, primary care providers (n=34) and patients (n=33) from New York University’s Bellevue Hospital completed a pre-survey, then experienced a 7-12 minute conversation simulation, followed by a post-survey, and a one-month follow-up survey.

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Research Synopsis Pilot Study on Family Support Simulations

    The aim of this pilot study was to assess the potential utility of two virtual human role-play simulations that could serve as an initial step to:
  • Help family care workers teach parents how to effectively read to their children in a way that fosters sharing, attachment, and enjoyment of reading
  • Help parents to better manage their 2- to 5-year old child’s behaviors to promote healthy development.
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Advisory Boards

Martin Blaser, MD

Director of the NYU Human Microbiome Program; Author of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues; and Chair, Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In 2015, Dr. Martin Blaser was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.

Riva Greenberg

Diabetes Patient Expert and Certified Health Coach and Advisor; proponent of her Flourishing Approach to managing health; Author of several books, and blogs (Diabetes Stories | Huffington Post). Riva holds the distinguished Lecture Award from the International Diabetes Federation for her education and advocacy.

Judith Hibbard, Ph.D., MPH

Researcher Professor Emerita at the Health Policy at the University of Oregon; Lead author of the Patient Activation Measure (PAM); Contributor to more than 160 peer-reviewed publications. For more than 30 years, Dr. Hibbard has focused her research on consumer choices and behavior in healthcare.

Adina Kalet, MD

General internist and Professor, Department of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine; Arnold P. Gold Professor of Humanism and Professionalism, co-director of the Program on Medical Education Innovation and Research (PrMEIR); Founding Director of the Dean’s Office of Medical Education unit, Program for Professional Development Assessment and Outcomes (PPDA & O), and leads the Research on Medical Education Outcomes (ROMEO) unit.

Antoinette Schoenthaler, ED.D, MA

Assistant Professor of Population Health and Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, and serves as the inaugural Director of the Psychosocial Unit in the Center for Healthful Behavior Change in the Davison of Health and Behavior. Dr. Schoenthaler has extensive experience in development and implementation targeted at risk reduction in diverse settings such as faith-based organizations, senior centers, and primary care practices.

Andrew Garner, MD, PhD, FAAP

Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine and a Primary Care Pediatrician with University Hospitals Medical Practices in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Garner is a product of the Medical Scientist Training (MD, PhD) Program at CWRU and the Pediatric Residency Training Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.

Mary Haust

Has worked in the Binghamton City School District as Director of the PACT (Parents and Children Together) Program, Community Schools, Youth at Risk, Even Start, Healthy Families and Broome Community Partners. She was an International Trainer for Parents as Teachers National Center and served as a Middle States Commissioner of Elementary Education. Mary serves on the Steering Committee of NYSPEP and the Steering Committee for Coalition for Family Engagement.

Alise L. Mahr, BSW

A Tier III Credentialed Senior Parent Educator with New York State Parenting Education Partnership (N.Y.S.P.E.P), Alise has worked for 18 years in the parenting education field. She is the Program Coordinator for the Family Life Development Center@CIDS (Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Developmental Services) and holds certifications as a T.E.P.E trained Parent Educator and P.A.T.(Parents as Trainers).

Tina Mandiville

Employed by The Institute for Family Health, Ulster County Healthy Families Program as a Supervisor, and started her career here as a Home Visitor working with pregnant and parenting families throughout Ulster County, teaching them parenting skills, self-sufficiency and how to bond and interact with their children. Tina is also a Birth Doula and a Certified Lactation Counselor.

Belinda Patrone, M.A.

Parent/Caregiver Services Coordinator, is a Master’s level clinician with several years of experience working as a dance/movement therapist with children between the ages of 2½ and 5 with diagnoses with severe behavioral problems. She received her BA from Russell Sage College and her Master’s in Creative Arts Therapy from Hahnemann University. She has received training in Filial Therapy, the Sanctuary model, motivational interviewing, and the 4Rs and 2Ss for strengthening families.

Robert Sege, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP

Vice President, Medical Foundation Division, and Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University. He is nationally known for his research on effective health systems approaches to the prevention of violence and abuse. He is a member of the boards of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust and Prevent Child Abuse America, and of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. He received his PhD in Biology from MIT and his MD from Harvard Medical School.

Krista Zuccheri

Chief Operating Officer at Family Connections, which delivers research-based therapeutic services in-office, in-schools, and in-homes, with extensive service delivery and expertise in programs for child welfare involved families. She has been with the organization for 12 years in a variety of roles and has significant experience working with children and families. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Simulation Use

Simulations are available for personal use and small-scale research and evaluation.

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Welcome to Conversations for Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded this series of conversation experiences to understand the impact of simulated role-play conversations, featuring virtual humans, in managing conversations that make a difference in primary care and family settings. RWJF seeks to discover, explore and learn from cutting-edge ideas with the potential to help build a Culture of Health

In healthcare, collaborative communication is a keystone of effective relationships between providers and patients. The inability to collaborate effectively is a root cause of many of the failures in health settings and has been shown to decrease quality of care, reduce adherence to treatment, and lower patient satisfaction. In family settings, early childhood is a critical developmental period, during which strong parent-child bonds can have a major impact on lifelong health and well-being. It takes practice to develop the patience and calm to manage stressful parenting situations, which is key to healthy social and emotional development in childhood.

We invite you to experience these conversation simulations, created by Kognito, with the support of RWJF.

We encourage you to share this site with your colleagues and friends to inspire new ideas about how this approach might support conversations that make a difference for your healthcare organization, family support services organization, and for providers, families, and patients.