Posts from November 2019

How to Choose the Right Natural Language Processing Solution

These days there is a lot of talk about AI in respect to Artificial intelligence, but AI has another abbreviation, Augmented Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence implies a level of machine automated processing with no human intervention whereas Augmented Intelligence is the use of technology to enhance human performance. One AI technology that has been proven to support both interpretations is Natural Language Processing, or NLP for short. This is not a new technology, in fact, Linguamatics has been successfully completing projects using NLP since 2001.

For Payers and Health plans investigating new technologies there are many areas where NLP can support improved efficiency and business insights: HEDIS medical record review for hybrid measures, Medicare risk adjustment, clinical review/medical necessity and risk stratification to name just a few. The first four areas are about using NLP to improve efficiency of often manual processes by extracting key insights from medical records and summarizing the findings; the last example is a more automated analysis of large-scale populations to identify high risk members based on Social Determinants of Health and disease severity information.

The growth of interest in NLP and AI has led to more and more businesses claiming to have AI solutions that can help healthcare organizations to make the most of their unstructured data. The question is: how do you decide which NLP offering actually works, and which NLP solution is right for you?


Until recently I kept hearing claims such as, “Vaping is so much better for you than smoking…” My response is “It’s just a matter of time before the data will let us know”. Turns out the data is starting to speak, and it doesn’t have a positive outlook on the matter. Vaping is really in its infancy, and research even more so. We are still discovering which additives are in which types of vaping cartridges. Let’s compare vaping to tobacco: the Cancer Council in Australia reports that tobacco has been grown in the Americas for nearly 8,000 years, and the first significant medical reports weren’t out until the 1950s and 1960s. Relatively speaking we are early to this arena. Fast forward to the present where we know cigarettes have over 4,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known carcinogens.


Natural Language Processing: Standing on the shoulders of giants

Many of us know the joys and sorrows of research. Weeks, months and years can pass, developing hypotheses, working in the lab or clinic, analyzing results, sometimes going back to square one, but then writing the paper, and finally, seeing the final version published and in print. The intent is that your research is shared, discussed, re-used, so that others can build on it, “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as Isaac Newton famously said.

Traditionally, getting information out of written papers for re-use has been manual; individuals reading, reviewing and extracting the key facts from tens or hundreds of papers by hand, in order to summarize the most up to date research in a field, or understand the landscape of information around a particular research topic. Over the past few decades Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), have evolved that can hugely speed up and improve this data extraction. NLP solutions can enable researchers to access information from huge volumes of scientific abstracts and literature; developing strategies and rules that drill deep into literature for hidden nuggets, or more broadly, ploughing the landscape for the nuggets of desired information.

To give you a couple of examples, I’ll share two use cases, both published recently, that use Linguamatics NLP platform across published literature, enabling researches to benefit from years of previous research.


It Takes a Village to Raise Modern Medicine

Learning from the past

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a popular old African proverb, that in my opinion has a lot of merit. Now that single parents are part of the mainstream, as well as divorced families, and other non-traditional parenting units and methods are adopted; it’s still very important for the nurturing and development to come from many different influences- especially those that are closest. I also believe this old proverb can be applied to not just childrearing, but in other areas, such as how we work together and adopt new methods to make healthcare better.