Joint Summarization-Entailment Optimization for Consumer Health Question Understanding

Understanding the intent of medical questions asked by patients, or Consumer Health Questions, is an essential skill for medical Conversational AI systems. We propose a novel data-augmented and simple joint learning approach combining question summarization and Recognizing Question Entailment (RQE) in the medical domain. Our data augmentation approach enables to use just one dataset for joint learning. We show improvements on both tasks across four biomedical datasets in accuracy (+8%), ROUGE-1 (+2.5%) and human evaluation scores. Human evaluation shows joint learning generates faithful and informative summaries. Finally, we release our code, the two question summarization datasets extracted from a large-scale medical dialogue dataset, as well as our augmented datasets.

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