AI-Powered Medical Records Summarization: A Game-Changer

Maruti Techlabs
4 min readNov 8, 2023


AI-Powered Medical Records Summarization: A Game-Changer

In healthcare, medical records are the lifeblood of patient care. They contain crucial information about a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, treatment, doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and progress. These records are paramount to healthcare providers, legal firms, and insurance companies.

Doctors and caregivers need timely access to patient’s medical histories and health reports to make precise diagnoses and develop effective treatment plans. Similarly, legal firms rely on these records to establish relevant facts and prepare a solid case.

However, managing extensive and complex medical records with specialized terminology takes time and effort. Professionals spend hours navigating through stacks of documents, and missing or misplacing crucial information can have serious consequences. This is where the summarization of medical records comes in.

Medical records summarization concisely summarizes a patient’s entire medical history. It highlights all the essential information in a structured manner that helps track medical records quickly and accurately.

Text Summarization using NLP

Text summarization is an essential Natural Language Processing (NLP) task that involves constructing a brief and well-structured summary of a lengthy text document. This process entails identifying and emphasizing the text’s critical information and essential points within the text. The process is referred to as document summarization when applied to a specific document.

Document summarizations are of three major types:

  1. Extractive: In an extractive summary, the output comprises the most relevant and essential information from the source document.
  2. Abstractive: In an abstractive summary, the output is more creative and insightful. The content is not copied from the original document.
  3. Mixed: In a mixed approach, the summary is newly generated but may have some details intact from the original document.

The comprehensive and concise nature of medical record summaries greatly contributes to the effectiveness and efficiency of both the healthcare and legal sectors.

Issues With Summarizing Medical Records

Though summarizing medical records has several benefits, they have their challenges. Even automated summary generation for medical records is not 100% accurate.

Some of the most common issues with summarizing medical records include:

Issues with Summarizing Medical Records

Dealing With Biomedical Text

Summarizing biomedical texts can be challenging, as clinical documents often contain specific values of high significance. Here, lexical choices, numbers, and units matter a lot. Hence, creating an abstract summary of such texts becomes a significant challenge.

Identifying Key Information

Medical records contain a large amount of information. But, the summary must only include relevant information that aligns with the intended purpose. Identifying and extracting relevant information from medical records can be challenging.

Maintaining Accuracy and Completeness

The medical records summarization process must include all the critical components of a case. The key features include:

  • Consent for treatment
  • Legal documents like referral letter
  • Discharge summary
  • Admission notes, clinical progress notes, and nurse progress notes
  • Operation notes
  • Investigation reports like X-ray and histopathology reports
  • Orders for treatment and modification forms listing daily medications ordered
  • Signatures of doctors and nurse administrations

Maintaining accuracy and completeness, in summary, could be a challenge considering the complexity of medical documents.

What Are The Different Types Of Text Summarization?

What Are The Different Types Of Text Summarization?

There are two main approaches to getting an accurate summary and analysis of medical records: extractive summarization and abstractive summarization.

Extractive Summarization

Extractive summarization involves selecting essential phrases and lines from the original document to compose the summary. However, managing extensive and complex medical records with specialized terminology takes time and effort. LexRank, Luhn, and TextRank algorithms are among the top-rated tools for extractive summarization.

Abstractive Summarization

In abstractive summarization, the summarizer paraphrases sections of the source document. In abstractive summarization, the summarizer creates an entirely new set of text that did not exist in the original text. The new text represents the most critical insights from the original document. BARD and GPT-3 are some of the top tools for abstractive summarization.

Comparison Between Extractive and Abstractive Summarization

When comparing abstractive and extractive approaches in text summarization, abstractive summaries tend to be more coherent but less informative than extractive summaries.

Abstractive summarization models often employ attention mechanisms, which can pose challenges when applied to lengthy texts.

On the other hand, extractive summary algorithms are relatively easier to develop and may not require specific datasets. In contrast, abstractive approaches typically require many specially marked-up texts.

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