Medical Information Management is a Return to Natural Language Possible?

  • Roger A. Côté
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Medical Informatics book series (LNMED, volume 25)


In September 1984, Working Group 6 of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) held a working conference in Ottawa, Canada on the “Role of Informatics in Health Data Coding and Classification Systems”. Fifty experts from fifteen countries were invited to discuss the basic issues of medical nomenclature and classification in this computer age. The organizers had expected the group to recommend a completely new expanded nomenclature from which could be extracted an equally novel and logical statistical classification. Following all the discussions, the experts actually recommended a return to natural medical language. We quote from the Proceedings: “The outcome of the two and a half days of deliberations was the recommendation that:
  1. 1.

    In future health care information systems, the user inter-face should be based upon natural language. The generation of numerical or alpha-numeric codes should occur within the computer.

  2. 2.

    Automatic encoding of natural language be used. This will simplify, at the conceptual level, the linkage between different health care information systems such as: drug, hospital management, laboratory, medical records, occupational health, primary care, etc.

  3. 3.

    There is need to enhance the involvement of physicians and other health care professionals in the original entry of medical and other relevant data to increase its accuracy and quality.

  4. 4.

    Multiple health care information systems are required to meet the different needs in health care delivery and management, be they primary, secondary or tertiary care. Wherever possible these systems should be based on common underlying information representations.

  5. 5.

    Future health care information systems must be able to adapt to changing requirements in health care delivery and management.

  6. 6.

    Under the umbrella of Working Group 6, working parties should be formed to survey the existing health care in-formation systems related to hospital and ambulatory care, occupational and environmental health, accidents and in-juries, and disability and rehabilitation, with a view to recommending improvements.

  7. 7.

    The morbidity and mortality statistical classification requirements of national and international groups should be the by-product of medically-based health care information systems.

  8. 8.

    As a result of the historical difficulties in converting from one ICD version to another, no final decision on ICD-10 should be reached until the findings of this working conference are explored and evaluated.”



Natural Language Health Care Delivery Medical Language Exist Health Care Data Base Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger A. Côté
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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