Clinical decision support with natural language processing facilitates determination of colonoscopy surveillance intervals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: With an increased emphasis on improving quality and decreasing costs, new tools are needed to improve adherence to evidence-based practices and guidelines in endoscopy. We investigated the ability of an automated system that uses natural language processing (NLP) and clinical decision support (CDS) to facilitate determination of colonoscopy surveillance intervals. Methods: We performed a retrospective study at a single Veterans Administration medical center of patients age 40 years and older who had an index outpatient colonoscopy from 2002 through 2009 for any indication except surveillance of a previous colorectal neoplasia. We analyzed data from 10,798 reports, with 6379 linked to pathology results and 300 randomly selected reports. NLP-based CDS surveillance intervals were compared with those determined by paired, blinded, manual review. The primary outcome was adjusted agreement between manual review and the fully automated system. Results: κ statistical analysis produced a value of 0.74 (P < .001) for agreement between the full text annotation and the NLP-based CDS system. Fifty-five reports (18.3%; 95% confidence interval, 14.1%-23.2%) differed between manual review and CDS recommendations. Of these, NLP error accounted for 30 (54.5%), incomplete resection of adenomatous tissue accounted for 14 (25.5%), and masses observed without biopsy findings of cancer accounted for 4 (7.2%). NLP-based CDS surveillance intervals had higher levels of agreement with the standard (81.7%) than the level agreement between experts (72% agreement between paired reviewers). Conclusions: A fully automated system that uses NLP and a guideline-based CSD system can accurately facilitate guideline-recommended adherence surveillance for colonoscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1130-1136
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Clinical decision support
  • Colonoscopy
  • Natural language processing
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology

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