Development of a culturally targeted chatbot to inform living kidney donor candidates of African ancestry about APOL1 genetic testing: a mixed methods study.


Clinical chatbots are increasingly used to help integrate genetic testing into clinical contexts, but no chatbot exists for Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) genetic testing of living kidney donor (LKD) candidates of African ancestry. Our study aimed to culturally adapt and assess perceptions of the Gia® chatbot to help integrate APOL1 testing into LKD evaluation. Ten focus groups and post-focus group surveys were conducted with 54 LKDs, community members, and kidney transplant recipients of African ancestry. Data were analyzed through thematic analysis and descriptive statistics. Key themes about making Gia culturally targeted included ensuring: (1) transparency by providing Black LKDs' testimonials, explaining patient privacy and confidentiality protections, and explaining how genetic testing can help LKD evaluation; (2) content is informative by educating Black LKDs about APOL1 testing instead of aiming to convince them to undergo testing, presenting statistics, and describing how genetic discrimination is legally prevented; and (3) content avoids stigma about living donation in the Black community. Most agreed Gia was neutral and unbiased (82%), trustworthy (82%), and words, phrases, and expressions were familiar to the intended audience (85%). Our culturally adapted APOL1 Gia chatbot was well regarded. Future research should assess how this chatbot could supplement provider discussion prior to genetic testing to scale APOL1 counseling and testing for LKD candidate clinical evaluation.