Bashyam, V, Hsu, W, Watt, EW, Bui, AAT, Kangarloo, H, Taira, RK
Radiographics. 2009; 29(2):331-43.
Publication year: 2009

A patient’s electronic medical record contains a large amount of unstructured textual information. As patient records become increasingly dense owing to an aging population and increased occurrence of chronic diseases, a tool is needed to help organize and navigate patient data in a way that facilitates a clinician’s ability to understand this information and that improves efficiency. A system has been developed for physicians that summarizes clinical information from a patient record. This system provides a gestalt view of the patient’s record by organizing information about each disease along four dimensions (axes): time (eg, disease progression over time), space (eg, tumor in left frontal lobe), existence (eg, certainty of existence of a finding), and causality (eg, response to treatment). A display is generated from information provided by radiology reports and discharge summaries. Natural language processing is used to identify clinical abnormalities (problems, symptoms, findings) from these reports as well as associated properties and relationships. This information is presented in an integrated format that organizes extracted findings into a problem list, depicts the information on a timeline grid, and provides direct access to relevant reports and images. The goal of this system is to improve the structure of clinical information and its presentation to the physician, thereby simplifying the information retrieval and knowledge discovery necessary to bridge the gap between acquiring raw data and making an informed diagnosis.