Sequence Learning with RNNs for Medical Concept Normalization in User-Generated Texts

28 Nov 2018  ·  Elena Tutubalina, Zulfat Miftahutdinov, Sergey Nikolenko, Valentin Malykh ·

In this work, we consider the medical concept normalization problem, i.e., the problem of mapping a disease mention in free-form text to a concept in a controlled vocabulary, usually to the standard thesaurus in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). This task is challenging since medical terminology is very different when coming from health care professionals or from the general public in the form of social media texts. We approach it as a sequence learning problem, with recurrent neural networks trained to obtain semantic representations of one- and multi-word expressions. We develop end-to-end neural architectures tailored specifically to medical concept normalization, including bidirectional LSTM and GRU with an attention mechanism and additional semantic similarity features based on UMLS. Our evaluation over a standard benchmark shows that our model improves over a state of the art baseline for classification based on CNNs.

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