Impact of Virtual Patient Interaction Training in Emotional Self-Awareness on Patients Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Crisis Syndrome

Impact of Virtual Patient Interaction Training in Emotional Self-Awareness on Patients Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Crisis Syndrome

Funding agency: National Institute Of Health

VERG members: Heng Yao, Alexandre Gomes de Siqueira

Goals: This project focuses on training clinicians in two key indices of emotional self-awareness (ESA) in interactions with suicidal patients: 1) recognition of one’s own negative emotional responses and 2) the ability to communicate empathy verbally.

Collaborators: Dr. Adriana Foster, Dr. Igor Galynker

Our role as virtual agent researchers:

  • Created two virtual human interaction scenarios, Cynthia Young and Bernie Cohen
  • Generated machine learning classifiers to evaluate users’ responses to empathetic opportunities
  • Generated individualized post-interaction feedback for each study participant.  

Target Audience: Outpatient clinicians

Our approach

  • The intervention will consist of virtual human interactions (VHI) to be delivered exclusively online two times during the study, one week apart.
  • ESA individual feedback is given immediately post-VHI to clinician participants, including:
    • Interaction transcript;
    • Clinicians’ verbal empathic communication automatically coded by VPF2 with the ECCS;
    • The self-rated negative emotional response towards the VHI measured with TRQ-SF.

Description of User Testing/ Evaluation: We will explore the inter-relation between VHI training-related changes in 1) emotional self-awareness including NER (self-assessed by CPs with TRQ-SF), 2) empathy (measured with ECCS, automatically by VPF and by expert-raters), 3) patient’s perception of CP’s empathy, and 4) therapeutic alliance and reduction in patient-level suicide outcomes: 1) suicidal ideation and Suicide Crisis Syndrome. Another Exploratory Aim will include the duration of PP’s treatment in weeks prior to study inclusion as a potential moderating effect of the VHI training on suicidal ideation and Suicide Crisis Syndrome.

Publications:

Abstracts/Poster

  1. Using a Virtual Patient Interaction to Connect with Patients at Risk of Suicide, Sandhu, S., Barzilay S., Yao, H., Luna, A., Rodriguez, C., Lok, B., Foster, A., Galynker, I., International Academy of Suicide Research/Academy for Suicide Prevention (IASR/AFSP) International Summit on Suicide Research, October 27-30, Miami Beach, FL