Automatic Treatment Session Summaries in Psychotherapy – a Step towards Therapist-Patient Cooperation

Perlich, Anja; Meinel, Christoph in Proceedings of the International Conference on Current and Future Trends of Information and Communication Technologies in Healthcare (ICTH2015) 2015 .

Therapeutic documentation is a crucial part in psychotherapy and should first and foremost support the patient’s therapy progress. Yet, the notes taken throughout a therapy, mainly serve the use of therapists. In line with the movement of patient empowerment, the calls for patients’ access to their records are growing louder and were incorporated into the German patients’ rights law. Hence, with Tele-Board MED, an interactive system for joint documentation of therapist and patient was developed. In this paper, we introduce one of its many features: the automatic creation of treatment session summaries. Our contribution also consists of the evaluation of its potential for practical use by psychotherapists. The aim of our work is twofold, namely the involvement of patients in the documentation, and the support of therapists with their documentation duties. The aspects of investigation include the therapists’ documentation habits (regarding time, amount, and method), their purposes to manually create session summaries and opinion about the automatically created summaries. It was discovered that the bigger part of the motivation for treatment session documentation lies in the therapists’ personal purposes, such as remembering a case right before the next session. Nevertheless therapists are willing to turn documentation in a cooperative activity if they had effective and efficient tools at hand. With the system presented, they can well imagine summarizing important issues together with the patient at the end of a session and also handing out printed summaries to them.
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