Tyr Hullmann


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When Is a Name Sensitive? Eponyms in Clinical Text and Implications for De-Identification
Thomas Vakili | Tyr Hullmann | Aron Henriksson | Hercules Dalianis
Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Approaches to Language Data Pseudonymization (CALD-pseudo 2024)

Clinical data, in the form of electronic health records, are rich resources that can be tapped using natural language processing. At the same time, they contain very sensitive information that must be protected. One strategy is to remove or obscure data using automatic de-identification. However, the detection of sensitive data can yield false positives. This is especially true for tokens that are similar in form to sensitive entities, such as eponyms. These names tend to refer to medical procedures or diagnoses rather than specific persons. Previous research has shown that automatic de-identification systems often misclassify eponyms as names, leading to a loss of valuable medical information. In this study, we estimate the prevalence of eponyms in a real Swedish clinical corpus. Furthermore, we demonstrate that modern transformer-based de-identification systems are more accurate in distinguishing between names and eponyms than previous approaches.