Applying AI into practice:
Can Voice AI Reduce Malpractice Risks?
"Don't take that tone with me!"
Dangerous words to hear at home and as a public speaker. But tone of voice in the exam room can correlate to malpractice risk. I fear that many of us experience "being hung be the tongue." So we should ask the question: Can voice AI reduce malpractice risks?
Warnings from a physician-attorney
It's been a decade since John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP wrote a commentary [LINK] based on a study published back in 2002, Surgeons' tone of voice: a clue to malpractice history [Ambady et al. Surgery 2002 Jul;132(1):5-9.]. Mr. Shufeldt commented, "Medical malpractice history is not only associated with medical negligence but is also associated with a provider's interpersonal skills — the nature and quality of communication with a patient. The quality of the care is not the only reason patients initiate a law suit. Rather, the decision to sue is based upon a number of factors, including the relationship the patient has with their provider." So the study on surgeons' tone of voice is important to understand.
Two ten-second voice samples predicted malpractice claims
The 2002 study (Ambady et al.) audiotaped surgeons during patient visits and then human coders extracted two 10-second clips from the first and last minute of only two patients for each surgeon. They assessed/rated several variables: warmth, hostility, dominance and anxiety from each 10-second voice clip individually for content and voice tone. Controlling for content, ratings of higher dominance and lower concern/anxiety in the surgeons' voice tones significantly identified the ones with previous claims compared with those who had no claims. (odds ratio 2.74, 95% confidence interval). The researchers concluded that this method might be useful in training surgeons. I could not find any follow up studies on PubMed. This was obviously a time and labor intensive study.
Seems like artificial intelligence (AI) could help
In May 2017, I wrote, "Can AI Really Help Your Be a Better Public Speaker?" to share my own experiences in using the product VoiceVibes. I spoke with the founder recently, who would love to get similar voice files from someone interested in this topic. It would be great if we had a practical AI tool to improve the patient-physician encounter. I had written a review at that time also wondering if voice quality has an impact on patient education at the time of hospital discharge.
Can voice AI reduce malpractice risks?
I have been personally impressed with the feedback I got when I personally bought a subscription to VoiceVibes. If you are interesting in improving your public speaking, they now offer a $30 discount on orders from our site.
It would be great if we could leverage AI in this way to improve physician-patient communication in all fields of care. So, can voice AI reduce malpractice risks? It seems likely. I think it also represents a great application of AI in healthcare.
Ambady N, Laplante D, Nguyen T, Rosenthal R, Chaumeton N, Levinson W. Surgeons' tone of voice: a clue to malpractice history. Surgery, 2002, Jul;132(1):5-9 [Abstract on PubMed]
Shufeldt J. The Tonal Qualities of Providers' Voice Predictive of History. Written for AHC Media (now Relias). https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/103363-the-tonal-qualities-of-providers-voice-predictive-of-history