Michael R. Macdonald


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Fast Prototyping a Dialogue Comprehension System for Nurse-Patient Conversations on Symptom Monitoring
Zhengyuan Liu | Hazel Lim | Nur Farah Ain Suhaimi | Shao Chuen Tong | Sharon Ong | Angela Ng | Sheldon Lee | Michael R. Macdonald | Savitha Ramasamy | Pavitra Krishnaswamy | Wai Leng Chow | Nancy F. Chen
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Industry Papers)

Data for human-human spoken dialogues for research and development are currently very limited in quantity, variety, and sources; such data are even scarcer in healthcare. In this work, we investigate fast prototyping of a dialogue comprehension system by leveraging on minimal nurse-to-patient conversations. We propose a framework inspired by nurse-initiated clinical symptom monitoring conversations to construct a simulated human-human dialogue dataset, embodying linguistic characteristics of spoken interactions like thinking aloud, self-contradiction, and topic drift. We then adopt an established bidirectional attention pointer network on this simulated dataset, achieving more than 80% F1 score on a held-out test set from real-world nurse-to-patient conversations. The ability to automatically comprehend conversations in the healthcare domain by exploiting only limited data has implications for improving clinical workflows through red flag symptom detection and triaging capabilities. We demonstrate the feasibility for efficient and effective extraction, retrieval and comprehension of symptom checking information discussed in multi-turn human-human spoken conversations.