Philips, Health Language team to advance semantic interoperability

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Royal Philips Electronics and Health Language have launched a technology initiative to advance system interoperability in healthcare with the help of speech recognition. The companies aim to automate the conversion of free text into consistent medical terminology to enable direct storage in the electronic medical record (EMR). This will improve patient care by providing physicians with a central, reliable source of medical information, the companies said.

Interop 6.1 extracts findings, diagnoses, drugs, allergies and other relevant information from dictated reports. Subsequently, the information is formatted for upload to the EMR. The system generates codes that support the classification of medical conditions and the structuring of clinical data, such as the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes and the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) codes. 

Interop 6.1 also identifies medical terms from the history of present illnesses (HPI) to be indexed in the EMR. The indexed terms can be used for statistical evaluation, thus helping to improve hospital procedures related to patient safety, medication and continuity of care.

“Healthcare communities need to standardize existing systems and augment them with new integrated solutions focused on the patient” said Marcel Wassink, managing director for Philips Speech Recognition Systems. “The ability to exchange data accurately, effectively and consistently is key to eliminating cross-organizational boundaries and ensure the uniform and secure availability of critical information. This will eliminate documentation errors and improve the quality of care.”

Philips and Health Language have set out to provide easy-to-use tools for greater documentation accuracy, the companies said.

A prototype system which extracts information from freely-dictated text and allocates it to the corresponding fields in the EMR is being showcased at the HIMSS 2007 meeting this week in New Orleans.