Information Discovery specially designed for the healthcare branch – that was the goal of the SEMCARE (Semantic Data Platform for Healthcare) research project. Alongside European partners from industry, secondary education, and clinical settings, we acted as coordinators in developing the new data analytics platform Information Discovery for Healthcare through this EU-funded project.
The software developed in SEMCARE supports clinics in diagnosing illnesses and selecting suitable treatments, and makes it easier for them to choose suitable patients for clinical studies. In the SEMCARE project, we created a platform based on our proven information discovery technology to combine the newest text-mining technologies with multilingual semantics. Specific medical language features, terminology, and vocabulary were integrated, making it possible to harmonize and analyze structured and unstructured patient data from a variety of sources. Medical documents can be searched based on diagnoses, symptoms, regulations, and other criteria. This makes it possible to assemble patient groups based on specific characteristics, for instance for clinical trials, with just a few mouse clicks.
Text mining meets patient data
Information Discovery for Healthcare was developed to pool specific patient data according to defined clinical criteria. The technology makes it possible to find and evaluate individual criteria such as age, sex, diagnosis, indication, symptoms, or laboratory results in documents from various sources. Powerful full-text search capabilities and semantic textual analysis are combined here into a hybrid semantic full-text search. This makes it possible to semantically integrate heterogeneous unstructured and structured data sources for the purpose of identifying information and documents, as well as to complete individual data assessment and representation.
In order to provide basic functionality, the software requires only access to the text documents, independent of their format, whether it be PDF, RTF, TXT, or others. Data export to platforms like i2b2 and tranSMART is supported. Open interfaces also make it possible to integrate the system into existing hospital information systems.
Our Proof of Concept
The platform has already been evaluated in three European pilot locations in London, Rotterdam, and Graz during the SEMCARE project term. Information Discovery for Healthcare was used in these locations in the field of cardiovascular disease. High-risk patients were successfully identified using specific biomarkers and combinations of symptoms. Due to their ischemic heart disease, these patients are at risk of dying from sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Early recognition of this danger can be used to provide timely care with suitable treatments and lower the mortality of this patient group.
Privacy protection in accordance with international standards
Information Discovery for Healthcare was developed in a manner that conforms with statutory regulations on privacy protection. A multi-layer concept of data usage regulates access rights, guaranteeing the highest level of security:
- Installation exclusively in individual hospitals: no higher-level collection of data from multiple hospitals into centralized data banks
- Integration into local access control systems: data from Information Discovery may only be viewed if the user has unrestricted access to the electronic patient data system
- Automated, retrospective analysis of patient data: limited access to data from the user’s own department
- No clinical data leaves the hospital
One platform – Many uses
Information Discovery for Healthcare is a modern analysis platform that gives users the opportunity to complete comprehensive semantic searches of medical documents. It provides insight into structured and unstructured patient data, and facilitates flexible and comprehensive data analyses and correlations. With its comprehensive functionality, the platform is suitable for use in a wide variety of applications in the healthcare industry.