Hospital-wide Natural Language Processing summarising the health data of 1 million patients

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Electronic health records (EHRs) represent a major repository of real world clinical trajectories, interventions and outcomes. While modern enterprise EHRs try to capture data in structured standardised formats, a significant bulk of the available information captured in the EHR is still recorded only in unstructured text format and can only be transformed into structured codes by manual processes. Recently, Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms have reached a level of performance suitable for large scale and accurate information extraction from clinical text. Here we describe the application of open-source named-entity-recognition and linkage (NER+L) methods (CogStack, MedCAT) to the entire text content of a large UK hospital trust (Kings College Hospital, London). The resulting dataset contains 157M SNOMED concepts generated from 9.5M documents for 1.07M patients over a period of 9 years. We present a summary of prevalence and disease onset as well as a patient embedding that captures major comorbidity patterns at scale. NLP has the potential to transform the health data lifecycle, through large-scale automation of a traditionally manual task.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2022


  • health informatics


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