Portability of an algorithm to identify rheumatoid arthritis in electronic health records.

Carroll RJ, Thompson WK, Eyler AE, Mandelin AM, Cai T, Zink RM, Pacheco JA, Boomershine CS, Lasko TA, Xu H, Karlson EW, Perez RG, Gainer VS, Murphy SN, Ruderman EM, Pope RM, Plenge RM, Kho AN, Liao KP, Denny JC
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012 19 (e1): e162-9

PMID: 22374935 · PMCID: PMC3392871 · DOI:10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000583

OBJECTIVES - Electronic health records (EHR) can allow for the generation of large cohorts of individuals with given diseases for clinical and genomic research. A rate-limiting step is the development of electronic phenotype selection algorithms to find such cohorts. This study evaluated the portability of a published phenotype algorithm to identify rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients from EHR records at three institutions with different EHR systems.

MATERIALS AND METHODS - Physicians reviewed charts from three institutions to identify patients with RA. Each institution compiled attributes from various sources in the EHR, including codified data and clinical narratives, which were searched using one of two natural language processing (NLP) systems. The performance of the published model was compared with locally retrained models.

RESULTS - Applying the previously published model from Partners Healthcare to datasets from Northwestern and Vanderbilt Universities, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was found to be 92% for Northwestern and 95% for Vanderbilt, compared with 97% at Partners. Retraining the model improved the average sensitivity at a specificity of 97% to 72% from the original 65%. Both the original logistic regression models and locally retrained models were superior to simple billing code count thresholds.

DISCUSSION - These results show that a previously published algorithm for RA is portable to two external hospitals using different EHR systems, different NLP systems, and different target NLP vocabularies. Retraining the algorithm primarily increased the sensitivity at each site.

CONCLUSION - Electronic phenotype algorithms allow rapid identification of case populations in multiple sites with little retraining.

MeSH Terms (8)

Algorithms Arthritis, Rheumatoid Electronic Health Records Hospital Information Systems Hospitals, University Humans Natural Language Processing ROC Curve

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