Digital rectal examination (DRE) is considered a quality metric for prostate cancer care. However, much of the DRE related rich information is documented as free-text in clinical narratives. Therefore, we aimed to develop a natural language processing (NLP) pipeline for automatic documentation of DRE in clinical notes using a domain-specific dictionary created by clinical experts and an extended version of the same dictionary learned by clinical notes using distributional semantics algorithms. The proposed pipeline was compared to a baseline NLP algorithm and the results of the proposed pipeline were found superior in terms of precision (0.95) and recall (0.90) for documentation of DRE. We believe the rule-based NLP pipeline enriched with terms learned from the whole corpus can provide accurate and efficient identification of this quality metric.
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