NLP for Healthcare

Join a group of peers working on applying Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques to healthcare research questions. This Research Cluster is led by Professor and DataLab Executive Director Carl Stahmer and meets at the Blaisdell Medical Library on the UC Davis Sacramento campus (room 1106) every third Wednesday of the month beginning November 13, 2019 from 3:30-5pm. This cluster is co-sponsored by Research Informatics at UCDMC. Through this Research Cluster, discover the potential for NLP for your healthcare data and the computational and data focused resources and services through DataLab, Research Informatics, and Blaisdell Medical Library at UC Davis.


Harnessing the power of combining computational linguistics and machine learning, NLP algorithms are already in use in heathcare, aiding clinicians with voice-to-text dictation and simplifying documentation. It is employed with optical character recognition to digitize scans of imaging reports and care summaries for patients’ histories. NLP has further potential to facilitate health research and evaluate and improve care by generating insights from unstructured data, such as notes in electronic health records (EHR), free text from clinical questionnaires, and the growing medical literature. Identifying key concepts from large volumes of source material has further implications for improving health data integrity by summarizing, mapping and comparing data elements to structured fields. The reverse, generating narratives for clinical educational purposes from machine-readable formats, is also a possible extension of NLP. While the potential for NLP in healthcare is undeniable, the nature of heath data provides unique considerations. For example, EHR notes cannot be de-identified and unique solutions and scrutiny are needed for processing, interpreting and sharing insights.

This Research Cluster is open to research clinicians, faculty, fellows, residents, and graduate students from the Davis and Sacramento campuses interested in applying NLP to work with their healthcare data. Some prerequisites may apply for participation. Contact Carl Stahmer to get involved.