Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 06, 2009

Healthcare Technology and News: Selective EHR Search Now Possible Thanks to Open Health NLP

Mayo Clinic and International Business Machines (IBM) have reportedly launched a Web site for the Open Health Natural Language Processing (OHNLP) Consortium to establish and promote precise open source-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) information recovery from vast silos of information.
The Web site is designed to facilitate two thousand biomedical informatics researchers and software architecture programmers all over the world to cohesively develop and contribute relevant text search, retrieval and display codes that will help medical specialists to rapidly hone into specific and localized searches within each individual EHR and without having to view complete case studies.

"We are inviting our international colleagues to help continue development of these valuable tools," said Christopher Chute, Bioinformatics Expert and Senior Consultant OHNLP Project, Mayo Clinic. "By making it an open-source initiative, we hope to enable wide use of these NLP tools so medical advancements can happen faster and more efficiently."

HealthTechZone recently reported that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) 2009 economic stimulus package set aside $17.2 billion for EHR out of the $20 billion for Health Information Technology.

Technologies such as OHNLP could go a long way in making HIT successful since it will enable physicians to find info. quickly.  Mayo Clinic itself has 20 million different medical records - multiply this figure by the number of hospitals all over the U.S.  and that is quite a bit of information to sift through for results.

"The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act promises said Dan Pelino, General Manager, Global Healthcare and Life, IBM.”Because the success of such reform rides on delivering interconnected and intelligent information to health care professionals everywhere, Mayo and IBM are tapping into the collaborative power of the open-source community to speed the development of Natural Language Processing (NLP).”

The relatively new technology is built on IBM's open-source Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) which presents “required only” information, corrects spellings, identifies synonyms, and uses annotated and normalized text in accordance with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).

Vivek Naik is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Vivek's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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