Exploring IBM Watson to Extract Meaningful Information from the List of References of a Clinical Practice Guideline

  • Elisa Salvi
  • Enea Parimbelli
  • Alessia Basadonne
  • Natalia Viani
  • Anna Cavallini
  • Giuseppe Micieli
  • Silvana Quaglini
  • Lucia SacchiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10259)


In clinical practice, physicians often need to take decisions based both on previous experience and medical evidence. Such evidence is usually available in the form of clinical practice guidelines, which elaborate and summarize the knowledge contained in multiple documents. During clinical practice the synthetic format of medical guidelines is an advantage. However, when guidelines are used for educational purposes or when a clinician wants to gain deeper insight into a recommendation, it could be useful to examine all the guideline references relevant to a specific question. In this work we explored IBM Watson services available on the Bluemix cloud to automatically retrieve information from the wide corpus of documents referenced in a recent Italian compendium on emergency neurology. We integrated this functionality in a web application that combines multiple Watson services to index and query the referenced corpus. To evaluate the proposed approach we use the original guideline to check whether the retrieved text matches the actions mentioned in the recommendations.


Information retrieval Clinical decision support Natural language processing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical Computer and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.IRCCS Istituto Neurologico C. MondinoPaviaItaly

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