Outcome polarity identification of medical papers

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A medical publication may or may not present an outcome. When an outcome is present, its polarity may be positive, negative or neutral. Information about the polarity of an outcome is a vital one, particularly for practitioners who use the outcome information for decision making. We model the problem of automatic outcome polarity identification as a three-way document classification problem and attempt to solve it via supervised machine learning. We combine domain knowledge and linguistic features of medical text, and apply natural language processing to extract features for the chosen classifiers. We introduce two novel features — Relative Average Negation Count and Sentence Signature — and show that they are effective in improving classification accuracy. We also include features, such as n-grams and semantic orientation of terms, that have been used for similar text classification problems in other domains. Using these features, we obtain a maximum accuracy of 74.9% for the classification problem. Our experiments suggest that through careful feature selection, machine learning can be used to solve this problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAustralasian Language Technology Workshop (9th : 2011) - Canberra
Duration: 1 Dec 20112 Dec 2011

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