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MS2018-02: NLP for medical psychiatric records

posted Feb 20, 2018, 3:17 AM by Marco Spruit   [ updated Feb 20, 2018, 3:19 AM ]
"Utilizing free text from the medical psychiatric record" 
-> Since the medical text is written in Dutch, this project is only suitable for someone who is a native Dutch speaker.

At the psychiatry department of the UMCU, our data science team works on bringing the results of data analysis to the daily practice of the psychiatry work floor. Over the past two years, we have been working on creating an environment that allows working with patient data, and an infrastructure that makes the diverse types of patient data that are gathered available for analysis – partially with the help of MBI students. Currently, we are looking for a motivated MBI student with an interest in data analysis for the following problem:

Much of the data that are gathered in Electronic Health Records is typed in free text format by nurses and psychiatrists, for example in doctor/nurse notes, treatment plans, incident reports, and BHOM measurements. Compared to using structured data, utilizing text data has some additional challenges, we however believe that it contains information that is currently largely unused and waiting to be explored. Although the exact topic of research is still very open, we have some open questions:
  • Can we accurately capture a patient's current wellbeing or detect events based on what is written in medical text?
  • How can we represent text to perform information retrieval (e.g. extract information that is not captured in structured data to use as input for research)?
  • How can we represent text to predict or classify several outcomes (e.g. length of stay, aggression, diagnosis, symptoms)?
  • How can we enable researchers that do not have a technical background to utilize text data for their research?
  • Other questions or combinations of the above based on your interests.
For the project, you will first have to become acquainted with the psychiatry domain and the text data that is gathered, and with current NLP techniques in the medical field (in Dutch/English). We will then find a research problem based on the questions described above, and then solve this problem with a novel NLP technique. Solving the problem will require hands on working with the data - most NLP problems are currently tackled in Python, but it is also possible that other methods or programming environments are more suitable. We can offer you a chance to work with actual patient data in a challenging environment - the actual work with the patient data has to be conducted within the UMCU (at the Uithof). For the rest of the project, you are free to work where and when it suits you.

Please contact Vincent Menger or Marco for more information.