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Healthcare technology continues to expand and make it easier to treat patients and run a practice. Natural language processing can be a valuable tool for your healthcare organization, but many physicians are intimidated by the world of computer science. Let's break down natural language processing.


What is natural language processing in simple words?


Natural language processing (NLP) is a combination of linguistics and artificial intelligence (AI) that enables machines to understand and respond to human speech or text. The overall goal of NLP is to find patterns and algorithms to derive meaning from human communication and then have machines act upon it.


How does natural language processing work?


There are two techniques used to complete NLP tasks: syntactic analysis and semantic analysis.  Syntactic analysis involves reviewing natural language for grammatical rules and then deriving logical meaning from it. Semantic analysis gives the proper meaning to a sentence and determines what the person is actually saying or writing. These involve complex computer algorithms and ultimately try to give machines the ability to respond to human communication. This often doesn't have the most accurate results. For example, have you put an English sentence into language translation software to find the Japanese translation? It may or may not be accurate. That's why NLP continues to be an evolving field that could lead to innovative technological advances.


What is natural language processing used for?


NLP is used frequently in your daily life even if you aren't aware of it. Some examples include:
  • Translation software
  • Chatbots
  • Email spam filters
  • Search engine results
  • Voice assistants
  • Social media analytics including monitoring and listening tools
  • Audio transcription


NLP makes all of these features possible. Machines look at the text or speech involved and then make a meaningful decision about what to do with it. Let's explore email spam filters. How does your email platform determine what is spam? One factor is using NLP to analyze the content of the email. If it notices words that imply spam email, it will move it to your spam folder. This allows your primary email folder to only have emails that you actually want to read. Another example is audio transcription. Most people have seen this at work with their voicemail. If someone leaves you a message, your phone app may automatically create a transcript of the voicemail audio. This is utilizing speech-to-text conversion, which is grounded in NLP capabilities.


How can healthcare providers use natural language processing?


Of course, healthcare providers need to ensure that utilizing any NLP-based feature is HIPAA compliant. In fact, Paubox recently launched HIPAA compliant voicemail transcription for our first customer . Our secure and seamless inbound email security combined with NLP lets Paubox send transcribed voicemails directly to the recipient's email inbox along with the original audio file attached. Paubox Email Suite also lets you send HIPAA compliant email directly to a patient’s inbox without using patient portals or login credentials. It's easy to integrate with your current email provider, including Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 Our Plus and Premium plan levels also come with robust inbound security tools to stop threats like spam, viruses , malware , and phishing emails . Our patented ExecProtect feature that lets you say goodbye to display name spoofing emails, while Zero Trust Email leverages a proprietary email AI algorithm that requires a second form of verification before delivering any email.


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