Visualising conversation structure across time: Insights into effective doctor-patient consultations

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38014
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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