Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 27;16(19). pii: E3628. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193628.

Ontology-Based Healthcare Named Entity Recognition from Twitter Messages Using a Recurrent Neural Network Approach.

Author information

College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Korea.
Faculty of Information Technology, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam.
Database and Bioinformatics Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Korea.


Named Entity Recognition (NER) in the healthcare domain involves identifying and categorizing disease, drugs, and symptoms for biosurveillance, extracting their related properties and activities, and identifying adverse drug events appearing in texts. These tasks are important challenges in healthcare. Analyzing user messages in social media networks such as Twitter can provide opportunities to detect and manage public health events. Twitter provides a broad range of short messages that contain interesting information for information extraction. In this paper, we present a Health-Related Named Entity Recognition (HNER) task using healthcare-domain ontology that can recognize health-related entities from large numbers of user messages from Twitter. For this task, we employ a deep learning architecture which is based on a recurrent neural network (RNN) with little feature engineering. To achieve our goal, we collected a large number of Twitter messages containing health-related information, and detected biomedical entities from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). A bidirectional long short-term memory (BiLSTM) model learned rich context information, and a convolutional neural network (CNN) was used to produce character-level features. The conditional random field (CRF) model predicted a sequence of labels that corresponded to a sequence of inputs, and the Viterbi algorithm was used to detect health-related entities from Twitter messages. We provide comprehensive results giving valuable insights for identifying medical entities in Twitter for various applications. The BiLSTM-CRF model achieved a precision of 93.99%, recall of 73.31%, and F1-score of 81.77% for disease or syndrome HNER; a precision of 90.83%, recall of 81.98%, and F1-score of 87.52% for sign or symptom HNER; and a precision of 94.85%, recall of 73.47%, and F1-score of 84.51% for pharmacologic substance named entities. The ontology-based manual annotation results show that it is possible to perform high-quality annotation despite the complexity of medical terminology and the lack of context in tweets.


Twitter; conditional random field; deep learning; healthcare; named entity recognition; ontology; recurrent neural network; unified medical language system; word embedding

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center