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An intelligent listening framework for capturing encounter notes from a doctor-patient dialog

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Author(s): Klann Jeffrey | Szolovits Peter

Journal: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
ISSN 1472-6947

Volume: 9;
Issue: Suppl 1;
Start page: S3;
Date: 2009;
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ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Capturing accurate and machine-interpretable primary data from clinical encounters is a challenging task, yet critical to the integrity of the practice of medicine. We explore the intriguing possibility that technology can help accurately capture structured data from the clinical encounter using a combination of automated speech recognition (ASR) systems and tools for extraction of clinical meaning from narrative medical text. Our goal is to produce a displayed evolving encounter note, visible and editable (using speech) during the encounter. Results This is very ambitious, and so far we have taken only the most preliminary steps. We report a simple proof-of-concept system and the design of the more comprehensive one we are building, discussing both the engineering design and challenges encountered. Without a formal evaluation, we were encouraged by our initial results. The proof-of-concept, despite a few false positives, correctly recognized the proper category of single-and multi-word phrases in uncorrected ASR output. The more comprehensive system captures and transcribes speech and stores alternative phrase interpretations in an XML-based format used by a text-engineering framework. It does not yet use the framework to perform the language processing present in the proof-of-concept. Conclusion The work here encouraged us that the goal is reachable, so we conclude with proposed next steps. Some challenging steps include acquiring a corpus of doctor-patient conversations, exploring a workable microphone setup, performing user interface research, and developing a multi-speaker version of our tools.

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