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Increasing Efficiency with NLP in Healthcare

Oct 11, 2021

Healthcare databases are developing exponentially, and natural language processing (NLP) systems turn this information into value. Healthcare providers and insurance firms utilize NLP to enhance patient outcomes, streamline processes and maintain regulatory compliance.

NLP Use Cases in Healthcare
1. Speech Identification

Speech recognition (SR) systems developed using NLP algorithms are an integral component of medical practitioners’ devices. By employing voice recognition tools, medical practitioners quickly direct their notes into healthcare solutions and EHRs. There are two varieties of SR methods. The back-end SRs facilitate the voice data reporting, and the voice-to-text processing occurs after the dictation is finished. Here the transcriptionists are required to scan the content. In the front-end SRs, voice-to-text translation happens, enabling clinicians to develop a patient report faster than actually arranging for a transcriptionist. While the front-end SR leads to quicker report generation, the dictators still need to support the record.

2. Clinical Documentation Development

Medical documentation is at the heart of care delivery. It covers all the delicate health records of a case. The data stored is meant for managing patients and future referencing; the features obtained need to be accurate, available for retrieval, and displaying the range of services provided. To facilitate this process, it is recommended that clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs promote converting a patient’s medical state into coded information. The coded data can produce quality reporting, doctor report cards, compensation, public health knowledge, and many more. NLP is generally used to recognize critical data from unregulated and semi-structured recorded and voice data and automatically align it with relevant medical codes.

3. Data Mining Analysis

Data mining is an information discovery method that is based on recognizing designs in large datasets. In Healthcare, this is extensively used with NLP to identify potentially valuable correlations and learn ways to help all parties involved. One point of the spectrum leads to affordable healthcare assistance for the patients, supporting healthcare organizations. It also allows insurers to examine treatment efficiency and predicting the possibility of readmissions, leading to more loyal customer relationships and decreased fraud.

Challenges to Healthcare NLP
1. Unintended NLP Systems

Traditional NLP technology is not meant for comprehending medical text’s novel vocabularies, structure, and intents. The internal information is irregular due to the wide variety of source methods (e.g., EHR, clinical notes, PDF articles), and the wording varies considerably across clinical practices. For instance, the NLP model will need to know that azithromycin is a drug, 500 mg is dosage, and SOB is a clinical reduction for “shortness of breath” linked to pneumonia.

2. Inflexible Healthcare Data Structures

Text data include troves of data but only present one lens into patient well-being. The original value comes from merging text data with other health information to build a comprehensive picture of the patient. However, legacy data structures developed on data warehouses lack unregulated data—such as scanned papers, biomedical models, genomic series, and medical material streams — making it challenging to arrange patient data. Additionally, these designs are costly and complicated to scale. A simplistic ad hoc analysis on a substantial corpus of health information can take a long while to run. That is too long-drawn to anticipate when adjusting for patient requirements in real-time.

3. Absence of Advanced Analytics Abilities

Most healthcare companies have developed their analytics on information warehouses and BI programs. These are excellent for descriptive analytics, like counting the number of hospital beds used last week, but do not have the AI/ML abilities to predict hospital bed management in the future. Moreover, companies that have bought in NLP employ these systems as siloed, concrete answers. This method requires data to be replicated across various techniques, unfortunately ending in irregular analytics and slow healthcare insights.

Healthcare companies must take the measures needed to educate and bring providers into discussing NLP implementations.

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