By Joseph Goedert The Mayo Clinic and IBM Corp. placed their clinical natural language processing technologies into the public domain, making them available on the open source market. Such technologies can, among other uses, aid in the extraction of data from electronic medical records for research purposes. Mayo and IBM jointly developed a system for extracting data from more than 25 million free-text clinical notes. They also developed a system to extract cancer disease characteristics from unstructured pathology reports. Putting these technologies on the open source market enables other researchers and developers to access the systems and contribute code to further their capabilities. Clinical natural language processing technology enables computer systems to process vast repositories of text generated by patient-clinician interactions. The systems categorize and structure information using standard nomenclature, to aid in indexing and searching EMRs. Researchers also can use the technology when conducting retrospective studies and doing groundwork for new clinical trials. Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo and Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM also have launched the Open Health Natural Language Processing Consortium and encourage colleagues across the globe to participate. More information is available at ohnlp.org. This article can also be found at HealthDataManagement.com.
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