Medical imaging is an important part of modern healthcare, enhancing both the precision, reliability and development of treatment for various diseases. Artificial intelligence has also been widely used to further enhance the process. However, conventional medical image diagnosis employing AI algorithms require large amounts of annotations as supervision signals for model training. To acquire accurate labels for the AI algorithms — radiologists, as part of the clinical routine, prepare radiology reports for each of their patients, followed by annotation staff extracting and confirming structured labels from those reports using human-defined rules and existing natural language processing (NLP) tools. The ultimate accuracy of extracted labels hinges on the quality of human work and various NLP tools. The method comes at a heavy price, being both labour intensive and time consuming. An engineering team has now developed a new approach which can cut human cost down by 90%, by enabling the automatic acquisition of supervision signals from hundreds of thousands of radiology reports at the same time. It attains a high accuracy in predictions, surpassing its counterpart of conventional medical image diagnosis employing AI algorithms.

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