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Publication Details

Natural Language Access To A Melanoma Data Base

by Epstein, Martin N. and Walker, Donald E.

Technical Note 171
Institution: AI Center, SRI International
Address: 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Sep 1978.

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Abstract

This paper describes ongoing research towards developing a system that will allow physicians personal access to patient medical data through natural language queries to support both patient management and clinical research. A prototype system has been implemented for a small data base on malignant melanoma. The physician can input queries in English that retrieve specified data for particular patients or for groups of patients satisfying certain characteristics, that perform simple calculations, that allow browsing through the data base, and that assist in identifying relations among attributes. The system supports dialogue interactions; that is, the user can follow a line of inquiry to test a particular hypothesis by entering a sequence of queries that depend on each other. Classes of questions that can be processed are described and examples using the system are given.

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