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Methods Inf Med. 1999 Dec;38(4-5):303-7.

Automated semantic indexing of imaging reports to support retrieval of medical images in the multimedia electronic medical record.

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  • 1Center for Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, USA.


This paper describes preliminary work evaluating automated semantic indexing of radiology imaging reports to represent images stored in the Image Engine multimedia medical record system at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The authors used the SAPHIRE indexing system to automatically identify important biomedical concepts within radiology reports and represent these concepts with terms from the 1998 edition of the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) Metathesaurus. This automated UMLS indexing was then compared with manual UMLS indexing of the same reports. Human indexing identified appropriate UMLS Metathesaurus descriptors for 81% of the important biomedical concepts contained in the report set. SAPHIRE automatically identified UMLS Metathesaurus descriptors for 64% of the important biomedical concepts contained in the report set. The overall conclusions of this pilot study were that the UMLS metathesaurus provided adequate coverage of the majority of the important concepts contained within the radiology report test set and that SAPHIRE could automatically identify and translate almost two thirds of these concepts into appropriate UMLS descriptors. Further work is required to improve both the recall and precision of this automated concept extraction process.

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