Feature-Augmented Neural Networks for Patient Note De-identification

COLING Clinical NLP 2016

Published December 11, 2016

Ji Young Lee, Franck Dernoncourt, Ozlem Uzuner, Peter Szolovits

Best Student Paper Award

Patient notes contain a wealth of information of potentially great interest to medical investigators. However, to protect patients' privacy, Protected Health Information (PHI) must be removed from the patient notes before they can be legally released, a process known as patient note de-identification. The main objective for a de-identification system is to have the highest possible recall. Recently, the first neural-network-based de-identification system has been proposed, yielding state-of-the-art results. Unlike other systems, it does not rely on human-engineered features, which allows it to be quickly deployed, but does not leverage knowledge from human experts or from electronic health records (EHRs). In this work, we explore a method to incorporate human-engineered features as well as features derived from EHRs to a neural-network-based de-identification system. Our results show that the addition of features, especially the EHR-derived features, further improves the state-of-the-art in patient note de-identification, including for some of the most sensitive PHI types such as patient names. Since in a real-life setting patient notes typically come with EHRs, we recommend developers of de-identification systems to leverage the information EHRs contain.

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