MedicalSum: A Guided Clinical Abstractive Summarization Model for Generating Medical Reports from Patient-Doctor Conversations


We introduce MedicalSum, a transformer-based sequence-to-sequence architecture for summarizing medical conversations by integrating medical domain knowledge from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). The novel knowledge augmentation is performed in three ways: (i) introducing a guidance signal that consists of the medical words in the input sequence, (ii) leveraging semantic type knowledge in UMLS to create clinically meaningful input embeddings, and (iii) making use of a novel weighted loss function that provides a stronger incentive for the model to correctly predict words with a medical meaning. By applying these three strategies, MedicalSum takes clinical knowledge into consideration during the summarization process and achieves state-of-the-art ROUGE score improvements of 0.8-2.1 points (including 6.2% ROUGE-1 error reduction in the PE section) when producing medical summaries of patient-doctor conversations.

Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022