Fuzzy Matching: How VISION turned medical coding process into a simple field entry

Fuzzy Matching: Medical Coding Made Easy

Approximate string matching--often called "fuzzy" matching--eliminates the dichotomy of "match" or "no match". Instead, *every* item is compared to the user's typing and each item is scored with its "distance" from being an exact match. (A typical edit distance is something like "the minimum number of characters needing to be inserted, deleted, or swapped to make an exact match".) Fuzzy matching forgives typing errors, and looks for matches anywhere in the item, not just at the start. In fact, by intentionally typing the most distinctive part of the phrase you want, instead of the first part, you can usually get your match with fewer characters.

If fuzzy matching is obviously better, why isn't it used everywhere? Because it is very hard to calculate a complex edit-distance on every item, and still get back to the user before the next keystroke!


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