Discover the what, why and how of natural language processing

Stale jokes about doctors’ bad handwriting aside, mounds of health care data are actually stored in difficult-to-read physicians’ notes and text fields.

That makes natural language processing (NLP) particularly relevant to health care.

What is NLP?

It’s a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) technology focused on allowing computers to understand and interpret human language.

Why NLP for health care?

Estimates say 80 percent of health record content is unstructured. That means it is not stored in a fixed field or record file in a spreadsheet or database. It can’t be easily searched with basic algorithms — making it difficult to discover actionable insights.

How does NLP work?

NLP organizes unstructured data, enriching traditional data with information about the patient’s history, symptoms, prescriptions and more. You end up with a more complete picture of patient care, thanks to the power of big data in health care.

Click here to dig deeper into the what, why and how of NLP. You’ll learn more about the technology and how it promises to deliver a return on investment in analytics, electronic health records and more.


About the Author:

Steve Griffiths Headshot

Steve Griffiths, SVP and Chief Operating Officer, Optum Enterprise Analytics, Optum

Steve Griffiths has more than 20 years’ experience in health analytics management, and currently heads up the Optum Enterprise Analytics organization. His main focus is to drive growth and innovation through Optum products and services. Steve has a master’s degree in biostatistics from the University of Washington, and a PhD in health services research, policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.

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