AM08 2008 START Conference Manager    

It's all relative: usage of relative temporal expressions in triage notes

Tessa Sullivan, Ann Irvine and Stephanie Haas

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


The official beginning of a patient’s visit to the Emergency Department (ED) is the creation of a patient record consisting of a Chief Complaint and Triage Note. The Triage Note attempts to capture all of the events and circumstances that led to the decision to visit the ED. Events in the triage note are often not recorded in the order in which they occurred but rather in the order in which they are reported. In addition, patients typically do not use precise language to describe the timing of these events. Instead, they rely on such relative phrases as ‘yesterday’ and this morning. Using a temporal information extraction system, we examine the variation in frequency of these relative temporal expressions over time of day. From this, we can attempt to map the human perception of time to a computer’s understanding of time. We do this by suggesting interpretation rules for the placement of the associated events in the proper sequence on a timeline. The research described here serves as a building block to support the automated creation of timelines with the goal of aiding clinicians and others in visualizing the patterns of events which led to the patient’s visit to the Emergency Department.

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