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In JMIR medical informatics ; h5-index 23.0

BACKGROUND : Clinical named entity recognition (CNER), whose goal is to automatically identify clinical entities in electronic medical records (EMRs), is an important research direction of clinical text data mining and information extraction. The promotion of CNER can provide support for clinical decision making and medical knowledge base construction, which could then improve overall medical quality. Compared with English CNER, and due to the complexity of Chinese word segmentation and grammar, Chinese CNER was implemented later and is more challenging.

OBJECTIVE : With the development of distributed representation and deep learning, a series of models have been applied in Chinese CNER. Different from the English version, Chinese CNER is mainly divided into character-based and word-based methods that cannot make comprehensive use of EMR information and cannot solve the problem of ambiguity in word representation.

METHODS : In this paper, we propose a lattice long short-term memory (LSTM) model combined with a variant contextualized character representation and a conditional random field (CRF) layer for Chinese CNER: the Embeddings from Language Models (ELMo)-lattice-LSTM-CRF model. The lattice LSTM model can effectively utilize the information from characters and words in Chinese EMRs; in addition, the variant ELMo model uses Chinese characters as input instead of the character-encoding layer of the ELMo model, so as to learn domain-specific contextualized character embeddings.

RESULTS : We evaluated our method using two Chinese CNER datasets from the China Conference on Knowledge Graph and Semantic Computing (CCKS): the CCKS-2017 CNER dataset and the CCKS-2019 CNER dataset. We obtained F1 scores of 90.13% and 85.02% on the test sets of these two datasets, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS : Our results show that our proposed method is effective in Chinese CNER. In addition, the results of our experiments show that variant contextualized character representations can significantly improve the performance of the model.

Li Yongbin, Wang Xiaohua, Hui Linhu, Zou Liping, Li Hongjin, Xu Luo, Liu Weihai


ELMo, clinical named entity recognition, deep learning, lattice LSTM, neural network, sequence tagging