Recent Advances in Clinical Natural Language Processing in Support of Semantic Analysis

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747

Patient-Centered Care Coordination

Issue: 2015: IMIA Yearbook 2015
Pages: 183-193

Recent Advances in Clinical Natural Language Processing in Support of Semantic Analysis

Section 10: Natural Language Processing


S. Velupillai (1), D. Mowery (2), B. R. South (2), M. Kvist (1, 3), H. Dalianis (1)

(1) Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, (DSV), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; (2) Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA; (3) Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME), Karolinska Institutet, Sweden


Review, Semantics, annotation, information extraction, Clinical Natural Language Processing, Domain Adaptation


Objectives: We present a review of recent advances in clinical Natural Language Processing (NLP), with a focus on semantic analysis and key subtasks that support such analysis. Methods: We conducted a literature review of clinical NLP research from 2008 to 2014, emphasizing recent publications (2012-2014), based on PubMed and ACL proceedings as well as relevant referenced publications from the included papers. Results: Significant articles published within this time-span were included and are discussed from the perspective of semantic analysis. Three key clinical NLP subtasks that enable such analysis were identified: 1) developing more efficient methods for corpus creation (annotation and de-identification), 2) generating building blocks for extracting meaning (morphological, syntactic, and semantic subtasks), and 3) leveraging NLP for clinical utility (NLP applications and infrastructure for clinical use cases). Finally, we provide a reflection upon most recent developments and potential areas of future NLP development and applications. Conclusions: There has been an increase of advances within key NLP subtasks that support semantic analysis. Performance of NLP semantic analysis is, in many cases, close to that of agreement between humans. The creation and release of corpora annotated with complex semantic information models has greatly supported the development of new tools and approaches. Research on non-English languages is continuously growing. NLP methods have sometimes been successfully employed in real-world clinical tasks. However, there is still a gap between the development of advanced resources and their utilization in clinical settings. A plethora of new clinical use cases are emerging due to established health care initiatives and additional patient-generated sources through the extensive use of social media and other devices.

You may also be interested in...



S. M. Meystre (1), G. K. Savova (2), K. C. Kipper-Schuler (2), J. F. Hurdle (1)

Yearb Med Inform 2008 : 128-144

T. Prottengeier 1, S. Leucht2

Die Psychiatrie 2008 5 2: 91-100


D. Gammon 1, 2, L. K. Johannessen 1, T. Sørensen 1, R. Wynn 3, P. Whitten4

Methods Inf Med 2008 47 3: 260-269