I Should Listen More: Real-time Sensing and Feedback of Non-Verbal Communication in Video Telehealth

Abstract

Video telehealth is growing to allow more clinicians to see patients from afar. As a result, clinicians, typically trained for in-person visits, must learn to communicate both health information and non-verbal affective signals to patients through a digital medium. We introduce a system called ReflectLive that senses and provides real-time feedback about non-verbal communication behaviors to clinicians so they can improve their communication behaviors. A user evaluation with 10 clinicians showed that the real-time feedback helped clinicians maintain better eye contact with patients and was not overly distracting. Clinicians reported being more aware of their non-verbal communication behaviors and reacted positively to summaries of their conversational metrics, motivating them to want to improve. Using ReflectLive as a probe, we also discuss the benefits and concerns around automatically quantifying the “soft skills” and complexities of clinician-patient communication, the controllability of behaviors, and the design considerations for how to present real-time and summative feedback to clinicians.