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Text analytics for patient safety

The National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) of the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using text analytics software to help analyze patient safety reports received from 153 hospitals operated by the VA.

The NCPS has deployed the PolyAnalyst data and text mining solution from Megaputer Intelligence to find common patterns, emerging trends and root causes in the safety reports, according to a news release from Megaputer Intelligence.

Megaputer says the NCPS’s goal is to reduce and prevent inadvertent harm to patients as a result of care. VA analysts try to learn from the reports details of close calls, also known as "near misses," which occur at a higher frequency rate than actual adverse events. Through use of the reports, the analysts try to identify and fix problems to improve safety and quality of care.

According to Megaputer, the narrative is the most important part of the reports, which is why the VA needed a text mining system capable of solving text clustering and categorization tasks to detect patterns and present results in a user friendly way. The aim of the technology is to overcome the problems of manual analysis, which includes slow processing, low accuracy and potential bias, according to Megaputer.

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