It's about this and that: a description of anaphoric expressions in clinical text.

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Although anaphoric expressions are very common in biomedical and clinical documents, little work has been done to systematically characterize their use in clinical text. Samples of 'it', 'this', and 'that' expressions occurring in inpatient clinical notes from four metropolitan hospitals were analyzed using a combination of semi-automated and manual annotation techniques. We developed a rule-based approach to filter potential non-referential expressions. A physician then manually annotated 1000 potential referential instances to determine referent status and the antecedent of each referent expression. A distributional analysis of the three referring expressions in the entire corpus of notes demonstrates a high prevalence of anaphora and large variance in distributions of referential expressions with different notes. Our results confirm that anaphoric expressions are common in clinical texts. Effective co-reference resolution with anaphoric expressions remains an important challenge in medical natural language processing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1480
Number of pages10
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2011

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