VOLI

Voice Assistant for Quality of Life and Healthcare Improvement in Aging Populations

Research

According to the latest US Census Bureau predictions, by 2035 older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in US history. This brings significant societal challenges based on their unique living and health-related conditions stemming from reduced sensory, motor, and cognitive capabilities, as well as multiple chronic conditions. Technology can play a pivotal role in meeting the needs of older adults in ways that preserve their independence. Voice represents a natural choice for interaction between an aging individual and their caregivers, social networks, and healthcare providers, and it becomes key for those with visual or mobility impairment.

We are working on a personalized and context-aware voice-based digital assistant to improve the quality of life and the healthcare of older adults, and consequently, to reduce caregiving burden and optimize the interactions with healthcare and service providers.

We strive for innovations in natural language understanding, deep learning, and human-computer interfaces that leverage information from EHRs, clinical ontologies, and novel patient-level terminologies to support among others the clinical use case of detecting symptom changes and medication side effects.

People

Our team has a history of successful interdisciplinary projects in healthcare, expert systems in clinical care, EHR integration, the aging population, patient monitoring, patient self-­report, ubiquitous computing, machine learning for natural language processing and understanding, experimental prototyping, field studies, and software engineering of large-­scale systems.

Emilia Farcas, PhD

Principal Investigator

Alison Moore, MD, MPH

Co-Investigator

Michael Hogarth, MD

Co-Investigator

Ndapa Nakashole, PhD

Co-Investigator

Nadir Weibel, PhD

Co-Investigator

Janet Johnson

PhD Student

Khalil Mrini

PhD Student

Chen Chen

PhD Student

Kemeberly Charles

Research Assistant

Ella Lifset

Research Assistant

In the News

UC San Diego News Center, "Building a Voice Assistant for Older Adults", April 28, 2021

Publications

Mrini, K., Farcas, E., Nakashole, N. “Recursive Tree-Structured Self-Attention for Answer Sentence Selection”, The Joint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (ACL-IJCNLP 2021), August 2021.

Mrini, K., Dernoncourt, F., Yoon, S., Bui, T., Chang, W., Farcas, E., Nakashole, N. “A Gradually Soft Multi-Task and Data-Augmented Approach to Medical Question Understanding”, The Joint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (ACL-IJCNLP 2021), August 2021.

Mrini, K., Dernoncourt, F., Chang, W., Farcas, E., Nakashole, N. "Joint Summarization-Entailment Optimization for Consumer Health Question Understanding", NAACL 2021 Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Medical Conversations (NLPMC), June 2021.

Mrini, K., Dernoncourt, F., Yoon, S., Bui, T., Chang, W., Farcas, E., Nakashole, N. "UCSD-Adobe at MEDIQA 2021: Transfer Learning and Answer Sentence Selection for Medical Summarization", NAACL 2021 Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing (BioNLP), June 2021.

Charles, K., Chen, C., Johnson, J., Lee, A., Lifset, E., Hogarth, M., Weibel, N., Farcas, E., Moore, A. "How might an intelligent voice assistant address older adults' health-related needs?", In Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, vol. 69, pp. S243-S244. 111 River St, Hoboken 07030-5774, NJ USA: Willey, April 2021. (abstract)

Mrini, K., Chen, C., Nakashole, N., Weibel, N., Farcas, E. "Medical Question Understanding and Answering for Older Adults", The 3rd Southern California Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (SoCal ML & NLP) Symposium, March 2021.

Chen, C., Mrini, K., Charles, K., Johnson, J., Lee, A., Lifset, E., Hogarth, M., Moore, A., Nakashole, N., Weibel, N., Farcas, E., "VOLI: Voice Assistant for Quality of Life and Healthcare Improvement in Aging Populations", 2021 NSF Smart and Connected Health (SCH) PI Meeting, Smart Health in the AI and COVID Era Virtual Workshop, March 1-2, 2021 (poster)

Johnson, J., Mrini, K., Hogarth, M., Moore, A., Nakashole, N., Weibel, N, Farcas, E. "Voice-Based Conversational Agents for Older Adults", ACM CHI'20 Workshop on Conversational Agents for Health and Wellbeing, April 2020.

Farcas, E., Hogarth, M., Johnson, J., Moore, A., Mrini, K., Nakashole, N., Weibel, N. "VOLI: Voice Assistant for Quality of Life and Healthcare Improvement in Aging Populations", 2020 NSF Smart and Connected Health (SCH) “Advancing Health Through Science” Workshop, Alexandria, VA, January 6-7, 2020. (poster)

Contact

Emilia Farcas

University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr, MC0436,
La Jolla, CA 92093

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