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Connecting the dots in healthcare: Introducing IQVIA NLP API Suite

Connecting the dots in healthcare: Introducing IQVIA NLP API Suite

In today’s environment, connectivity, and interoperability reign supreme. We live in hyper-connected worlds where we expect everything from banking to shopping to be served as a seamless, intelligence-enabled experience. And yet, one industry where interoperability is still a major challenge is arguably the most important: our healthcare.

The COVID-19 crisis underscored how problematic our siloed healthcare systems really are. At a time when we needed rapid aggregation of data with respect to epidemiology, clinical features, and potential treatments for COVID-19, our efforts have been hindered by systems that couldn’t easily standardize and communicate data across one another. And the structured data that was recorded, lacked richness. For example, important social determinants of health (SDoH) that can help improve outcomes and reduce health disparities are often captured in physician notes and thus not standardized or easily available for rapid analysis. As a result, innovation and insights across healthcare and life science have been bottlenecked just when we needed them most.

Today, we are taking a step to solve some of these challenges with the launch of IQVIA’s first set of healthcare-tuned application programming interfaces, or APIs. IQVIA Natural Language Processing (NLP) APIs provide instant access to healthcare-tuned NLP, answering crucial questions in healthcare and life sciences at the push of a button, and unlocking a richness to data that can empower your decision making.

Healthcare NLP for rapid deployment at scale

This kind of technology offers a critical connectivity link to healthcare and life sciences organizations. Other APIs aim to enable interoperability across complex unstructured documents, but none of them have been built for healthcare by healthcare to effectively capture the nuances of medical and scientific language. Now, data scientists, developers and analysts can free themselves from frustrating manual efforts to code and clean unstructured data by instantly adding healthcare-tuned NLP to their workflows. Healthcare and scientific concepts are understood in the right context, and data features are surfaced effectively and standardized to feed analytical workflows.

Access to these NLP APIs can significantly impact otherwise tedious manual tasks. To put this into context, consider that eighty percent of healthcare data are traditionally locked away in unstructured text. Now, these data can be rapidly accessible. That means adverse events detection from case reports or literature can now be captured with ease. Relevant biomarker data in clinical trial records and drug labels are accessible with the push of a button. Predictive analytics and population health analytics from social determinants of health are at your fingertips. You’ve just added layers of richness to your data insights through a tool that is instant, easy and, in many cases, completely free.

The initial release comprises a suite of five powerful NLP APIs, designed to answer some of the most common questions in healthcare and life science:

  • Healthcare Concepts helps you recognize key healthcare concepts, context and patterns in data, such as drugs, dosages, diseases, demographics
  • Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) surfaces structured information on patients’ social determinants of health, including social isolation, food insecurities, transportation issues and more
  • MedDRA Codes identifies and codes adverse events into standardized MedDRA concepts
  • FDA Drug Label Biomarkers allows you to easily extract gene/protein biomarkers listed in drug labels, with drug and indication, into a structured output
  • Biomarkers extracts gene/protein biomarkers used in clinical trials, with indication, into a structured output.

Users can either post text to one of our API endpoints to find the significant metadata and concepts in their own documents, or explore millions of scientific documents in our NLP cloud content store, which covers key biomedical data sources such as PubMed,, and FDA Drug Labels. And all users have instant, free limited access to all NLP APIs with no upfront commitment, or NLP experience required. For unlimited access, pay as you go with no commitment or take advantage of volume-based discounts to support your enterprise.  

Positioning for the future

As mentioned earlier, the pandemic underscored the critical public health and research value of rapid data availability and analytic capacity. But that’s not the only reason to begin adopting NLP now. From drug developers looking for a competitive edge, to providers who want to offer more precise care, and more, the future is bright for healthcare and life sciences: NLP is a must-have capability to thrive in 2022 and beyond. The good news is that with IQVIA’s NLP API suite, deploying trustworthy, healthcare-tuned NLP is easier than it has ever been before.

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