Natural language processing: state of the art and prospects for significant progress, a workshop sponsored by the National Library of Medicine

J Biomed Inform. 2013 Oct;46(5):765-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jun 25.


Natural language processing (NLP) is crucial for advancing healthcare because it is needed to transform relevant information locked in text into structured data that can be used by computer processes aimed at improving patient care and advancing medicine. In light of the importance of NLP to health, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) recently sponsored a workshop to review the state of the art in NLP focusing on text in English, both in biomedicine and in the general language domain. Specific goals of the NLM-sponsored workshop were to identify the current state of the art, grand challenges and specific roadblocks, and to identify effective use and best practices. This paper reports on the main outcomes of the workshop, including an overview of the state of the art, strategies for advancing the field, and obstacles that need to be addressed, resulting in recommendations for a research agenda intended to advance the field.

Keywords: Biomedical language processing; Natural language processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Education*
  • National Library of Medicine (U.S.)*
  • Natural Language Processing*
  • United States