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Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;235:216-220.

Prevalence Estimation of Protected Health Information in Swedish Clinical Text.

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Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Obscuring protected health information (PHI) in the clinical text of health records facilitates the secondary use of healthcare data in a privacy-preserving manner. Although automatic de-identification of clinical text using machine learning holds much promise, little is known about the relative prevalence of PHI in different types of clinical text and whether there is a need for domain adaptation when learning predictive models from one particular domain and applying it to another. In this study, we address these questions by training a predictive model and using it to estimate the prevalence of PHI in clinical text written (1) in different clinical specialties, (2) in different types of notes (i.e., under different headings), and (3) by persons in different professional roles. It is demonstrated that the overall PHI density is 1.57%; however, substantial differences exist across domains.


de-identification; electronic health records; natural language processing; predictive modeling; protected health information

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