What Happened to Me while I Was in the Hospital? Challenges and Opportunities for Generating Patient-Friendly Hospitalization Summaries

J Healthc Inform Res. 2018 Oct 12;3(1):107-123. doi: 10.1007/s41666-018-0036-7. eCollection 2019 Mar.


Comprehending medical information is a challenging task, especially for people who have not received formal medical education. When patients are discharged from the hospital, they are provided with lengthy medical documents that contain intricate terminologies. Studies have shown that if people do not understand the content of their health documents, they will neither look for new information regarding their illness nor will they take actions to prevent or recover from their health issue. In this article, we highlight the need for generating personalized hospital-stay summaries and several research challenges associated with this task. The proposed directions are directly informed by our ongoing work in generating concise and comprehensible hospitalization summaries that are tailored to suit the patient's understanding of medical terminologies and level of engagement in improving their own health. Our preliminary evaluation shows that our summaries effectively present required medical concepts.

Keywords: Discharge summaries; Natural language generation; Patient-centric information; Personalization; Simplification.