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Library for clinical NLP with spaCy.

alt text

MedSpaCy is currently in beta.


MedSpaCy is a library of tools for performing clinical NLP and text processing tasks with the popular spaCy framework. The medspacy package brings together a number of other packages, each of which implements specific functionality for common clinical text processing specific to the clinical domain, such as sentence segmentation, contextual analysis and attribute assertion, and section detection.

medspacy is modularized so that each component can be used independently. All of medspacy is designed to be used as part of a spacy processing pipeline. Each of the following modules is available as part of medspacy:

  • medspacy.preprocess: Destructive preprocessing for modifying clinical text before processing
  • medspacy.sentence_splitter: Clinical sentence segmentation
  • medspacy.ner: Utilities for extracting concepts from clinical text
  • medspacy.context: Implementation of the ConText for detecting semantic modifiers and attributes of entities, including negation and uncertainty
  • medspacy.section_detection: Clinical section detection and segmentation
  • medspacy.postprocess: Flexible framework for modifying and removing extracted entities
  • Utilities for converting processed texts to structured data and interacting with databases
  • medspacy.visualization: Utilities for visualizing concepts and relationships extracted from text
  • SpacyQuickUMLS: UMLS concept extraction compatible with spacy and medspacy implemented by QuickUMLS. More detail on this component, how to use it, how to generate UMLS resources beyond the small UMLS sample can be found in this notebook.
    • NOTE: This component is installed by default on MacOS and Linux but not Windows. For more details and Windows installation: QuickUMLS on Windows

Future work could include I/O, relations extraction, and pre-trained clinical models.

As of 10/2/2021 (version, medspaCy supports spaCy v3



You can install medspacy using

python install

Or with pip:

pip install medspacy

To install a previous version which uses spaCy 2:

pip install medspacy==medspacy


The following packages are required and installed when medspacy is installed:

If you download other models, you can use them by providing the model itself or model name to medspacy.load(model_name):

import spacy; import medspacy
# Option 1: Load default
nlp = medspacy.load()

# Option 2: Load from existing model
nlp = spacy.load("en_core_web_sm", disable={"ner"})
nlp = medspacy.load(nlp)

# Option 3: Load from model name
nlp = medspacy.load("en_core_web_sm", disable={"ner"})

Basic Usage

Here is a simple example showing how to implement and visualize a simple rule-based pipeline using medspacy:

import medspacy
from medspacy.ner import TargetRule
from medspacy.visualization import visualize_ent

# Load medspacy model
nlp = medspacy.load()

text = """
Past Medical History:
1. Atrial fibrillation
2. Type II Diabetes Mellitus

Assessment and Plan:
There is no evidence of pneumonia. Continue warfarin for Afib. Follow up for management of type 2 DM.

# Add rules for target concept extraction
target_matcher = nlp.get_pipe("medspacy_target_matcher")
target_rules = [
    TargetRule("atrial fibrillation", "PROBLEM"),
    TargetRule("atrial fibrillation", "PROBLEM", pattern=[{"LOWER": "afib"}]),
    TargetRule("pneumonia", "PROBLEM"),
    TargetRule("Type II Diabetes Mellitus", "PROBLEM", 
                  {"LOWER": "type"},
                  {"LOWER": {"IN": ["2", "ii", "two"]}},
                  {"LOWER": {"IN": ["dm", "diabetes"]}},
                  {"LOWER": "mellitus", "OP": "?"}
    TargetRule("warfarin", "MEDICATION")

doc = nlp(text)

Output: alt text

For more detailed examples and explanations of each component, see the notebooks folder.

Citing medspaCy

If you use medspaCy in your work, consider citing our paper! Presented at the AMIA Annual Symposium 2021, preprint available on Arxiv.

H. Eyre, A.B. Chapman, K.S. Peterson, J. Shi, P.R. Alba, M.M. Jones, T.L. Box, S.L. DuVall, O. V Patterson,
Launching into clinical space with medspaCy: a new clinical text processing toolkit in Python,
AMIA Annu. Symp. Proc. 2021 (in Press. (n.d.).
   Author="Eyre, H.  and Chapman, A. B.  and Peterson, K. S.  and Shi, J.  and Alba, P. R.  and Jones, M. M.  and Box, T. L.  and DuVall, S. L.  and Patterson, O. V. ",
   Title="{{L}aunching into clinical space with medspa{C}y: a new clinical text processing toolkit in {P}ython}",
   Journal="AMIA Annu Symp Proc",


Made with medSpaCy

Here are some links to projects or tutorials which use medSpacy. If you have a project which uses medSpaCy which you'd like to use, let us know!

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