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J Biomed Inform. 2009 Oct;42(5):801-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2008.10.002. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Automatic summarization of MEDLINE citations for evidence-based medical treatment: a topic-oriented evaluation.

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National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bldg 38A, Rm B1N-28J, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA.


As the number of electronic biomedical textual resources increases, it becomes harder for physicians to find useful answers at the point of care. Information retrieval applications provide access to databases; however, little research has been done on using automatic summarization to help navigate the documents returned by these systems. After presenting a semantic abstraction automatic summarization system for MEDLINE citations, we concentrate on evaluating its ability to identify useful drug interventions for 53 diseases. The evaluation methodology uses existing sources of evidence-based medicine as surrogates for a physician-annotated reference standard. Mean average precision (MAP) and a clinical usefulness score developed for this study were computed as performance metrics. The automatic summarization system significantly outperformed the baseline in both metrics. The MAP gain was 0.17 (p<0.01) and the increase in the overall score of clinical usefulness was 0.39 (p<0.05).

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