Assistant professor Timothy Guetterman, Ph.D., was recently awarded a K01 career development award in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of Health.
Guetterman is a trained methodologist and health informatics researcher who has authored nearly 50 publications that utilize or assess the use of qualitative and mixed methods, specifically in health sciences research.
Over the next three years, the K-grant will support the continuation of Dr. Guetterman’s research on the use of virtual human technology to teach and assess nonverbal communication in health care settings.
Patient-provider communication is a major public health issue linked to increase risk for medical errors, poor outcomes, and lower patient satisfaction. Guetterman's research will seek to develop an automated assessment of nonverbal communication in virtual human software, so that nonverbal communication may be incorporated into simulations with the goal of enhancing provider communication skills.
Guetterman has been a major contributor to the development and evaluation of MPathic-VR, an interactive, virtual human software that replaces the standardized patient with a realistic virtual human patient who can listen and respond to medical trainees in real-time. MPathic-VR utilizes a computer monitor, microphone, webcam, and Microsoft Kinect, to take in information about the doctor’s voice, facial expressions, and movement, as well as their verbal responses. The virtual human then assesses this input and responds. MPathic-VR was designed as both an interactive teaching and learning tool, as well as a technology for learning assessment.
The K01 award will support further refinement and validation of MPathic-VR, pivoting to focus on how to use the technology to train and assess non-verbal communication skills in clinical encounters. The three scientific aims of Guetterman's health informatics research include, to:
- Investigate the mediating influence of computer based nonverbal communication training using virtual human software—MPathic-VR
- Refine a conceptual model of nonverbal communication
- Develop and test an automated assessment of nonverbal communication in the virtual human software
Pioneering mixed methods in bioinformatics
Guetterman is a methodological expert, who has applied mixed methodology to topics ranging from recovery from traumatic brain injury to organizational assessments in complex health systems. Guetterman currently serves as Co-Director of the Michigan Mixed Methods Program and provides methodological instruction as part of a competitive national mixed methods training program in the health sciences, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. He is also the Media Editor of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research.
The NLM/NIH award will enable Guetterman to apply his expertise in a new subject area--biomedical informatics and technology. "For me, the research has some implicationsfor bringing more mixed methods work to the the field of bioinformatics and information systems," Guetterman notes.
"Mixed methods will allow me to more thoroughly understand the nonverbal elements that lead to skill enhancement, to develop a model, and to automate nonverbal communication behavior assessment. Those results will be needed for further virtual human simulation development."
Guetterman will be supported by a team of mentors and consulting advisors.
Guetterman will also seek guidance from a group of consulting advisors, including Lawrence An, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at U-M; John Creswell, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at U-M; Richard Gonzalez, Ph.D., Professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research; Fredrick Kron, M.D., Adjunct Research Investigator of Family Medicine at U-M, Erika Rosenberg, Ph.D., of Erika Rosenberg Consulting LLC; and Mark Scerbo, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Old Dominion University.
Find Timothy Guetterman's validation study of the MPathic-VR system, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Read more on MPathic-VR.
Browse the latest mixed methods and health informatics publications from Dr. Guetterman, on Michigan Experts