Coping with the variability of medical terms.

TitleCoping with the variability of medical terms.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBaud, RH, Ruch, P, Gaudinat, A, Fabry, P, Lovis, C, Geissbuhler, A
JournalStudies in health technology and informatics
IssuePt 1
Date Published2004
KeywordsAlgorithms, Information Storage and Retrieval, Natural Language Processing, Semantics, Terminology as Topic, Vocabulary, Controlled

OBJECTIVES: To cope with medical terms, which present a high variability of expression through a single natural language, in the sense that any term may be reformulated in hundred of different ways.

METHODS: A typology of term variants is presented as a systematic approach in order to favour the implementation of an exhaustive solution. Then, an algorithm able to handle all variants is designed.

RESULTS: Using MetaMap, single terms are analyzed with a success rate varying between 68 and 88 %; the algorithm presented in this paper improves this situation.

CONCLUSIONS: This experience shows that a semantic driven method, based on a thesaurus, provides a satisfactory solution to the problem of variability of a single term. The presented typology is representative of most variants in a language.

Alternate JournalStud Health Technol Inform
PubMed ID15360827