Maintaining a high quality of conversation between doctors and patients is essential in telehealth services, where efficient and competent communication is important to promote patient health. Assessing the quality of medical conversations is often handled based on a human auditory-perceptual evaluation. Typically, trained experts are needed for such tasks, as they follow systematic evaluation criteria. However, the daily rapid increase of consultations makes the evaluation process inefficient and impractical. This paper investigates the automation of the quality assessment process of patient–doctor voice-based conversations in a telehealth service using a deep-learning-based classification model. For this, the data consist of audio recordings obtained from Altibbi. Altibbi is a digital health platform that provides telemedicine and telehealth services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The objective is to assist Altibbi’s operations team in the evaluation of the provided consultations in an automated manner. The proposed model is developed using three sets of features: features extracted from the signal level, the transcript level, and the signal and transcript levels. At the signal level, various statistical and spectral information is calculated to characterize the spectral envelope of the speech recordings. At the transcript level, a pre-trained embedding model is utilized to encompass the semantic and contextual features of the textual information. Additionally, the hybrid of the signal and transcript levels is explored and analyzed. The designed classification model relies on stacked layers of deep neural networks and convolutional neural networks. Evaluation results show that the model achieved a higher level of precision when compared with the manual evaluation approach followed by Altibbi’s operations team.
Providing a high quality of service in telehealth is a leading cause of success and a prime objective for clinicians and providers of telemedicine. Generally, the quality of telemedicine services can be influenced by various factors related to the patients, the physicians, and the environment. This includes but is not limited to patient cooperation, demographic and health situations, physician satisfaction, and the healthcare system and resources. Maintaining a high quality of telemedicine services is a subjective process, and differs among facilities. Some consider it from the perspective of covering the patient’s needs efficiently and effectively in a way that meets the provider’s satisfaction. Others have identified that the quality of the service is fulfilled by providing the right service at the right time, in the right place, for the right patient, for the right price. Further, others believe that maintaining a high quality of service can be done by delivering the care to a degree that exceeds the patients’ expectations. Roughly speaking, to ensure a high quality of telemedicine services, such systems should preserve the availability, accessibility, timeliness, privacy, and the confidentiality of service and caring, and should provide responsive communication, accuracy, reliability, as well as the improvement of patient quality of life. Quantifying the quality of medical services in the case of recorded consultations is not easy. In such situations, the recordings contain the voices of the doctor and the patient, where they might be speaking in different dialects of the language. Meanwhile, capturing their attitudes, feelings, or reactions based on the recorded audio is challenging. As the recorded voice is an acoustic signal rich in spectral features and other linguistic and phonetic structures, Roy et al. intended to assess the quality of medical consultations to convey the speakers’ attitude
Prof Hossam Faris
Altibbi & The University of Jordan