Language Characteristics

The Importance of Language Characteristics
Max Louwerse, PI
David Lin, Co-PI
Linda Morrison, Co-PI

With the advances in electronic health records (EHRs), both in menu-based and speech/writing recognition-based systems, it is vital to identify which relevant language characteristics need to be captured in documenting clinical encounters. This project analyzes over 1500 chart notes collected over the last six years, whereby each chart note has been graded by two MD faculty on five dimensions. Four computational linguistic models will analyze these chart notes in order to determine which language characteristics best explain the different grades. 1.General linguistic features; 2.Cohesion and readability; 3.Personality and psychological features; 4.Subjectivity of text; These findings will be used to compare original chart notes with notes created using existing EHRs, to determine the extent to which EHRs might benefit from augmented language characteristics. Knowing which language characteristics are essential in documenting clinical encounters is informative for emerging technologies, but knowing whether existing EHRs can benefit from adding these characteristics is also an important question. An experiment using four standardized patient cases will evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of an extended EHR with regard to informativeness and usability.