Empowerment is a process through which people acquire the necessary knowledge and self-awareness to understand their health conditions and treatment options, self-manage them, and make informed choices. Currently, few stand-alone applications for patient empowerment exist and people/patients often go on the Web to search for health information. Such information is mainly obtained through generic search engines and it is often overwhelming, too generic, and of poor quality. Intelligent Empowering Agents (IEA) can filter such information and assist the user in the understanding of health information about specific complaints or health in general. We have designed and developed a first prototype of an IEA that dialogues with the user in simple language, collects health information from the Web, and provides tailored, easily understood, and trusted information. It empowers users to create their own comprehensive and objective opinion on health matters that concern them. The paper describes the IEA main characteristics and presents the results of subjective tests carried out to assess the effectiveness of the IEA. Twenty-eight Master students in Digital Health filled an online survey presenting questions on usability, user experience and perceived value. Most respondents found the IEA easy to use and helpful. They also felt that it would improve communication with their doctors.
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