Analysing voice quality and pitch in interactions of emergency care simulation

Frank Coffey, Keiko Tsuchiya , Stephen Timmons, Bryn Baxendale, Svenja Adolphs, Sarah Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/aims In emergency care, healthcare professionals (HCPs) interact with both a patient and their colleagues at the same time. How HCPs regulate the two distinct interactions is our central interest. Focusing on HCPs’ use of their voice quality and pitch, a multimodal analysis of the interaction in a simulation training session was conducted. Our aims are (1) to compare the use of HCPs’ voice quality and pitch in HCP–patient and HCP–HCP interactions, (2) to examine how different voice quality and pitch function in interaction, and (3) to develop the research methodology so as to integrate multimodal features in emergency care interaction for analysis.

Methods Three HCPs performed a scripted acute care scenario (chest pain) at the simulation centre. The multimodal corpus-based approach was applied to analyse the varying voice pitch and quality of the HCPs, in interactions with a simulated patient (SP) and with two other HCPs, in emergency care training.

Results The HCPs tended to use a clear voice when they talk to an SP and a ‘shattered’ voice to colleagues in the team. The pitch was raised to talk to an SP, by Helen (a nurse) and Mike (a doctor).

Conclusion This indicates that the HCPs strategically change their voice quality and pitch according to the addressees, regulating the interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-200
JournalBMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced Learning
Early online date6 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

doi: 10.1136/bmjstel-2017-000212


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