Keynote Address

"MyPHA: Mediating the language of doctors, nurses and patients"

Barbara Di Eugenio

Professor of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Chicago

Thursday, April 11 – 4pm
Institute for the Humanities (Stevenson Hall, basement)

Every year, 7.9% of the US population is hospitalized. The hospital stay is an opportunity to engage the patients in their care, even more so since up to 75% of these hospitalizations are due to chronic conditions. Involving patients in their care requires them to understand what happened in the hospital and how to possibly prevent future hospitalizations. MyPHA (My Personal Hospitalization App) is an interdisciplinary project aiming at automatically creating textual summaries of hospital stays that reflect three different perspectives: two from professionals (physicians and nurses) and the third from the patients themselves. So far, we have demonstrated broad differences in the language used by doctors and by nurses in reporting “what happened to the patient in the hospital”; we have also shown how important information from either perspective can be selected, integrated and rendered in a fluent English summary. To incorporate the patient’s perspective into the summary, so far we have been able to adapt length, content, choice of words, and expressions of empathy to the patient’s health literacy and level of involvement in their own care. We are currently analyzing 40 interviews that we conducted with patients, to understand how concerns and sources of strength arising from their lives affect the conceptualization of their illness, in order to personalize the summaries from those points of view as well.