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Benchmarking Modern Named Entity Recognition Techniques for Free-text Health Record De-identification

by   Abdullah Ahmed, et al.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have become the primary form of medical data-keeping across the United States. Federal law restricts the sharing of any EHR data that contains protected health information (PHI). De-identification, the process of identifying and removing all PHI, is crucial for making EHR data publicly available for scientific research. This project explores several deep learning-based named entity recognition (NER) methods to determine which method(s) perform better on the de-identification task. We trained and tested our models on the i2b2 training dataset, and qualitatively assessed their performance using EHR data collected from a local hospital. We found that 1) BiLSTM-CRF represents the best-performing encoder/decoder combination, 2) character-embeddings and CRFs tend to improve precision at the price of recall, and 3) transformers alone under-perform as context encoders. Future work focused on structuring medical text may improve the extraction of semantic and syntactic information for the purposes of EHR de-identification.


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