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Aspiring to Unintended Consequences of Natural Language Processing: A Review of Recent Developments in Clinical and Consumer-Generated Text Processing

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747
Topic:

Unintended Consequences: New Problems and New Solutions

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15265/IY-2016-017
Issue: 2016: IMIA Yearbook 2016
Pages: 224-233

Aspiring to Unintended Consequences of Natural Language Processing: A Review of Recent Developments in Clinical and Consumer-Generated Text Processing

Section 10: Natural Language Processing

Survey

D. Demner-Fushman (1), N. Elhadad (2)

(1) National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; (2) Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Keywords

Review, computing methodologies, Medical informatics applications, natural language processing, Social media

Summary

Objectives: This paper reviews work over the past two years in Natural Language Processing (NLP) applied to clinical and consumer-generated texts. Methods: We included any application or methodological publication that leverages text to facilitate healthcare and address the health-related needs of consumers and populations. Results: Many important developments in clinical text processing, both foundational and task-oriented, were addressed in community- wide evaluations and discussed in corresponding special issues that are referenced in this review. These focused issues and in-depth reviews of several other active research areas, such as pharmacovigilance and summarization, allowed us to discuss in greater depth disease modeling and predictive analytics using clinical texts, and text analysis in social media for healthcare quality assessment, trends towards online interventions based on rapid analysis of health-related posts, and consumer health question answering, among other issues. Conclusions: Our analysis shows that although clinical NLP continues to advance towards practical applications and more NLP methods are used in large-scale live health information applications, more needs to be done to make NLP use in clinical applications a routine widespread reality. Progress in clinical NLP is mirrored by developments in social media text analysis: the research is moving from capturing trends to addressing individual health-related posts, thus showing potential to become a tool for precision medicine and a valuable addition to the standard healthcare quality evaluation tools.

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