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The article describes an open-source, RadLex-compatible system that uses natural language processing methods to automatically create a searchable teaching file from the RIS and PACS.

Storing and retrieving radiology cases is an important activity for education and clinical research, but this process can be time-consuming. In the process of structuring reports and images into organized teaching files, incidental pathologic conditions not pertinent to the primary teaching point can be omitted, as when a user saves images of an aortic dissection case but disregards the incidental osteoid osteoma. An alternate strategy for identifying teaching cases is text search of reports in radiology information systems (RIS), but retrieved reports are unstructured, teaching-related content is not highlighted, and patient identifying information is not removed. Furthermore, searching unstructured reports requires sophisticated retrieval methods to achieve useful results. An open-source, RadLex®-compatible teaching file solution called RADTF, which uses natural language processing (NLP) methods to process radiology reports, was developed to create a searchable teaching resource from the RIS and the picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The NLP system extracts and de-identifies teaching-relevant statements from full reports to generate a stand-alone database, thus converting existing RIS archives into an on-demand source of teaching material. Using RADTF, the authors generated a semantic search–enabled, Web-based radiology archive containing over 700,000 cases with millions of images. RADTF combines a compact representation of the teaching-relevant content in radiology reports and a versatile search engine with the scale of the entire RIS-PACS collection of case material.

©RSNA, 2010


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Article History

Received: Apr 6 2010
Revision requested: June 2 2010
Revision received: July 7 2010
Accepted: July 21 2010
Published online: Nov 1 2010
Published in print: Nov 2010