A Systematic Review of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare

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Olaronke G. Iroju 1,* Janet O. Olaleke 1

1. Department of Computer Science, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria

* Corresponding author.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5815/ijitcs.2015.08.07

Received: 17 Nov. 2014 / Revised: 18 Feb. 2015 / Accepted: 12 Apr. 2015 / Published: 8 Jul. 2015

Index Terms

Electronic Healthcare Systems, Healthcare, Natural Language Processing Techniques, Unstructured Information


The healthcare system is a knowledge driven industry which consists of vast and growing volumes of narrative information obtained from discharge summaries/reports, physicians case notes, pathologists as well as radiologists reports. This information is usually stored in unstructured and non-standardized formats in electronic healthcare systems which make it difficult for the systems to understand the information contents of the narrative information. Thus, the access to valuable and meaningful healthcare information for decision making is a challenge. Nevertheless, Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques have been used to structure narrative information in healthcare. Thus, NLP techniques have the capability to capture unstructured healthcare information, analyze its grammatical structure, determine the meaning of the information and translate the information so that it can be easily understood by the electronic healthcare systems. Consequently, NLP techniques reduce cost as well as improve the quality of healthcare. It is therefore against this background that this paper reviews the NLP techniques used in healthcare, their applications as well as their limitations.

Cite This Paper

Olaronke G. Iroju, Janet O. Olaleke, "A Systematic Review of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare", International Journal of Information Technology and Computer Science(IJITCS), vol.7, no.8, pp.44-50, 2015. DOI:10.5815/ijitcs.2015.08.07


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