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An Automatic System for Helping Health Consumers to Understand Medical Texts

  • Autori: Alfano, M.; Lenzitti, B.; LO BOSCO, G.; Perticone, V.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Contributo in atti di convegno pubblicato in volume
  • OA Link:


Medical texts (reports, articles, etc.) are usually written by professionals (physicians, medical researchers, etc.) who use their own language and communication style. On the other hand, these texts are often read by health consumers (as in the case of medical reports) who do not have the same skills and vocabularies of the experts and can have difficulties in text comprehension. To help a health consumer in understanding a medical text, it would be desirable to have an automatic system that, given a text written with medical (technical) terms, translates them in simple or plain language and provides additional information with the same kind of language. We have designed such a system. It processes online medical documents and provides health consumers with the needed information for their understanding. To this end, we use a medical vocabulary for finding the technical terms in the medical texts, a consumer health vocabulary (CHV) for translating the technical terms into their consumer equivalents and a health-consumer dictionary for finding supplementary information on the terms. We have built a prototype that processes Italian medical reports and uses infobuttons next to the technical terms for allowing easy retrieval of the desired information