AWS launches Comprehend Medical, applies natural language processing to medical records

The service, an extension of Comprehend, adds new terms and relationships, is HIPAA eligible.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon Web Services is extending its Comprehend natural language processing service to medical records.

At AWS' re: Invent conference, the company outlined Amazon Comprehend Medical, an extension of Comprehend for medical customers.

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The importance of the service is that it is another toward applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to healthcare. The ability to automate medical record reading and x-ray and MRI analysis could save time for patients as well as physicians. Comprehend can model topics, detect language, conduct sentiment analysis and extract phrases.

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In a blog post, AWS said it had to build a version of Comprehend to account for medical terms, anatomy, conditions, medications and various healthcare terms. For instance, AWS had to add a vocabulary for healthcare, train a new API and have code to protect protected health information. While Comprehend Medical can protect health information, the system is HIPAA eligible, but not compliant. HIPAA compliance depends on how an enterprise uses an AWS service. AWS noted:

A word of caution: Amazon Comprehend Medical may not accurately identify protected health information in all circumstances and does not meet the requirements for de-identification of protected health information under HIPAA. You are responsible for reviewing any output provided by Amazon Comprehend Medical to ensure it meets your needs.

AWS did note that Comprehend Medical is HIPAA eligible. Use cases in healthcare would range from clinical decision support, revenue cycle management, trail management and health platforms.

Nevertheless, Comprehend Medical could be handy in various use cases. The system does pick up personal identifiable information and flags it. Comprehend Medical is also designed to understand relationships between things like dosage and conditions.

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The model looks like this:


With results like this:


Comprehend Medical is available in the US East, US Central, US West and Europe regions.

Updated to reflect HIPAA eligible and compliant difference.

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