OBJECTIVE - To evaluate the performance of a system that extracts medication information and administration-related actions from patient short message service (SMS) messages.
DESIGN - Mobile technologies provide a platform for electronic patient-centered medication management. MyMediHealth (MMH) is a medication management system that includes a medication scheduler, a medication administration record, and a reminder engine that sends text messages to cell phones. The object of this work was to extend MMH to allow two-way interaction using mobile phone-based SMS technology. Unprompted text-message communication with patients using natural language could engage patients in their healthcare, but presents unique natural language processing challenges. The authors developed a new functional component of MMH, the Patient-centered Automated SMS Tagging Engine (PASTE). The PASTE web service uses natural language processing methods, custom lexicons, and existing knowledge sources to extract and tag medication information from patient text messages.
MEASUREMENTS - A pilot evaluation of PASTE was completed using 130 medication messages anonymously submitted by 16 volunteers via a website. System output was compared with manually tagged messages.
RESULTS - Verified medication names, medication terms, and action terms reached high F-measures of 91.3%, 94.7%, and 90.4%, respectively. The overall medication name F-measure was 79.8%, and the medication action term F-measure was 90%.
CONCLUSION - Other studies have demonstrated systems that successfully extract medication information from clinical documents using semantic tagging, regular expression-based approaches, or a combination of both approaches. This evaluation demonstrates the feasibility of extracting medication information from patient-generated medication messages.