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Computer Science - Non-Clinical Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology

Visualising Conversation Structure across Time: Insights into Effective Doctor-Patient Consultations
Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Author: Daniel Angus et al.

by Daniel Angus, Bernadette Watson, Andrew Smith, Cindy Gallois, Janet Wiles

Effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients is critical to patients’ health outcomes. The doctor/patient dialogue has been extensively researched from different perspectives, with findings emphasising a range of behaviours that lead to effective communication. Much research involves self-reports, however, so that behavioural engagement cannot be disentangled from patients’ ratings of effectiveness. In this study we used a highly efficient and time economic automated computer visualisation measurement technique called Discursis to analyse conversational behaviour in consultations. Discursis automatically builds an internal language model from a transcript, mines the transcript for its conceptual content, and generates an interactive visual account of the discourse. The resultant visual account of the whole consultation can be analysed for patterns of engagement between interactants. The findings from this study show that Discursis is effective at highlighting a range of consultation techniques, including communication accommodation, engagement and repetition.