Towards an Automated SOAP Note: Classifying Utterances from Medical Conversations
Proceedings of the 5th Machine Learning for Healthcare Conference, PMLR 126:610-631, 2020.
Summaries generated from medical conversations can improve recall and understanding of care plans for patients and reduce documentation burden for doctors. Recent advancements in automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) offer potential solutions to generate these summaries automatically, but rigorous quantitative baselines for benchmarking research in this domain are lacking. In this paper, we bridge this gap for two tasks: classifying utterances from medical conversations according to (i) the SOAP section and (ii) the speaker role. Both are fundamental building blocks along the path towards an end-to-end, automated SOAP note for medical conversations. We provide details on a dataset that contains human and ASR transcriptions of medical conversations and corresponding machine learning optimized SOAP notes. We then present a systematic analysis in which we adapt an existing deep learning architecture to the two aforementioned tasks. The results suggest that modelling context in a hierarchical manner, which captures both word and utterance level context, yields substantial improvements on both classification tasks. Additionally, we develop and analyze a modular method for adapting our model to ASR output.