Early Referral voice application (DIVA)

Description: This application demonstrates a telephone consultation between a general practitioner (actor) and a software "agent" that has specialist knowledge of NICE criteria for urgent referral of patients with suspected cancer.

Publet Introduction:

This application illustrates the use of PROforma technology
in a “remote consultation”. In the demonstration scenario, a clinician is
seeking advice on whether a woman with suspected breast cancer should be
urgently referr
ed to a specialist oncologist or not. Essentially the system
takes a clinical history, then analyses the information about the patient
and then recommends the appropriate action.

The system is accessed by
telephone, microphone or multi-modal browser. The demo
nstration illustrates
a number of natural conversational features (e.g. accepting information in
response to questions or volunteered, interpreting “non-standard” terms,
giving explanations on request and so on).

An old version of the application was originally developed by Martin Beveridge and colleagues in the EU HOMEY project and is illustrated in a video in which Martin plays the role of a GP. Click on the still above to download and run the video, or access a version on YouTube.

Guideline Objectives
Target SettingPrimary Care
Target Users
  • Author
  • Release Date 05/08/2014
ProvenanceProof of concept only
Safety CaseNone Supplied



Beveridge M, Milward D. Combining task descriptions and ontological
knowledge for adaptive dialogue.
In: V. Matoušek and P. Mautner (Eds.) Proceedings of the 6th
International Conference on Text, Speech and Dialogue (TSD’03), 8th
–11th September, Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic, Lecture Notes in
Artificial Intelligence (LNAI 2807), Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 341 –
[Paper – Cancer Research UK]


Beveridge M, Fox J. & Milward D.
Speech Interfaces for Point-of-Care Guideline Systems.
Proc. 9th Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine in Europe (AIME-03), 18–22 October, Cyprus.
Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (LNAI 2780), Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 76–80.

[Paper – Cancer Research UK]


Department of Health. Referral guidelines for suspected
cancer. London: DoH, 2000.