The non-Verbal Structure of Patient Case Discussions in Multidisciplinary Medical Team Meetings

Saturnino Luz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Meeting analysis has a long theoretical tradition in social psychology, with established practical ramifications in computer science, especially in computer supported cooperative work. More recently, a good deal of research has focused on the issues of indexing and browsing multimedia records of meetings. Most research in this area, however, is still based on data collected in laboratories, under somewhat artificial conditions. This article presents an analysis of the discourse structure and spontaneous interactions at real-life multidisciplinary medical team meetings held as part of the work routine in a major hospital. It is hypothesized that the conversational structure of these meetings, as indicated by sequencing and duration of vocalizations, enables segmentation into individual patient case discussions. The task of segmenting audio-visual records of multidisciplinary medical team meetings is described as a topic segmentation task, and a method for automatic segmentation is proposed. An empirical evaluation based on hand labelled data is presented, which determines the optimal length of vocalization sequences for segmentation, and establishes the competitiveness of the method with approaches based on more complex knowledge sources. The effectiveness of Bayesian classification as a segmentation method, and its applicability to meeting segmentation in other domains are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)17:1-17:24
JournalACM Transactions on Information Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2012


  • Audio analysis
  • Dialogue segmentation
  • Meeting analysis
  • Multidisciplinary medical team meetings
  • Search of spontaneous speech


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