Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Care Act’

Tax Time And The IRS Is On Our Minds

irs

Have you checked out the IRS Tax Map this year? If not, what better way to spend April 15 (aside from actually filing those returns, of course).

The IRS Tax Map, as explained here, actually began as a project in 2002, as a prototype to address the business need for improved access to tax law technical information by the agency’s call center workers. These days, Tax Map is available to taxpayers to offer them topic-oriented access to the IRS’s diverse information products, as well. It aims at delivering semantic integration via the Topic Maps international standard (ISO/IEC 13250), grouping information about subjects, including those referred to by diverse names, in a single place.

It was created for the IRS by Infoloom in cooperation with Plexus Scientific and Coolheads Consulting. Infoloom explains on its web site that it lets customers control what is returned by search queries via a topic map approach that lets them extract from existing content information on the topics they need to represent, without having to build a taxonomy of terms, and add specific knowledge to that information as part of the extraction process.

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HealthCare.Gov: Progress Made But BackEnd Struggles Continue

rsz_hcgovThe media has been reporting the last few hours on the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov. According to these reports, the site is now working more than 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent in October; that pages on the website are loading in less than a second, down from about eight; that 50,000 people can simultaneously use the site and that it supports 800,000 visitors a day; and page-load failures are down to under 1 percent.

There’s also word, however, that while the front-end may be improved, there are still problems on the back-end. Insurance companies continue to complain they aren’t getting information correctly to support signups. “The key question,” according to CBS News reporter John Dickerson this morning, “is whether that link between the information coming from the website getting to the insurance company – if that link is not strong, people are not getting what was originally promised in the entire process.” If insurance companies aren’t getting the right information for processing plan enrollments, individuals going to the doctor’s after January 1 may find that they aren’t, in fact, covered.

Jeffrey Zients, the man spearheading the website fix, at the end of November did point out that work remains to be done on the backend for tasks such as coordinating payments and application information with insurance companies. Plans are for that to be in effect by mid-January.

As it turns out, among components of its backend technology, according to this report in the NY Times, is the MarkLogic Enterprise NoSQL database, which in its recent Version 7 release also added the ability to store and query data in RDF format using SPARQL syntax.

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Help For HealthCare: Mapping Unstructured Clinical Notes To ICD-10 Coding Schemes

Photo of Amit ShethThe health care industry – and the American citizenry at large – has been focused of late on the problems surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the federal website’s issues foremost among them. But believe it or not, there are other things the healthcare industry needs to prepare for, among them the October 1, 2014 date for replacing the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by ICD-10 code sets. ICD-9 uses 14,000 diagnosis codes which will increase to 68,000 in ICD-10, which is a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) code set requirement.

Natural language processing has had the primary role in many solutions aimed at transforming large volumes of unstructured clinical data into information that healthcare IT application vendors and their hospital customers can leverage. But there’s an argument being made that understanding unstructured text of clinical notes that contain a huge stash of information and then mapping them to fine-grained ICD-10 coding schemes requires a combination of NLP, advanced linguistics, machine learning and semantic web technologies, and Amit Sheth, professor of computer science and engineering at Wright State University and director of the Kno.e.sis Center is making them. (See our story yesterday for a look at how the NLP market is evolving overall, including in healthcare.)

“ICD-10 has thousands of codes with millions of possible permutations and combinations. A rule-based approach is not effective to cover the huge number of ICD-10 codes.” Sheth says. Extracting the correct concepts, identifying the relationship between these concepts and mapping them to the correct code is a major challenge, with codes often formed by information from various sections of a clinical document that itself is subject to individual physicians’ style of recording information, among other factors.

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