Objective - Understanding how to identify the social determinants of health from electronic health records (EHRs) could provide important insights to understand health or disease outcomes. We developed a methodology to capture 2 rare and severe social determinants of health, homelessness and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), from a large EHR repository.
Materials and Methods - We first constructed lexicons to capture homelessness and ACE phenotypic profiles. We employed word2vec and lexical associations to mine homelessness-related words. Next, using relevance feedback, we refined the 2 profiles with iterative searches over 100 million notes from the Vanderbilt EHR. Seven assessors manually reviewed the top-ranked results of 2544 patient visits relevant for homelessness and 1000 patients relevant for ACE.
Results - word2vec yielded better performance (area under the precision-recall curve [AUPRC] of 0.94) than lexical associations (AUPRC = 0.83) for extracting homelessness-related words. A comparative study of searches for the 2 phenotypes revealed a higher performance achieved for homelessness (AUPRC = 0.95) than ACE (AUPRC = 0.79). A temporal analysis of the homeless population showed that the majority experienced chronic homelessness. Most ACE patients suffered sexual (70%) and/or physical (50.6%) abuse, with the top-ranked abuser keywords being "father" (21.8%) and "mother" (15.4%). Top prevalent associated conditions for homeless patients were lack of housing (62.8%) and tobacco use disorder (61.5%), while for ACE patients it was mental disorders (36.6%-47.6%).
Conclusion - We provide an efficient solution for mining homelessness and ACE information from EHRs, which can facilitate large clinical and genetic studies of these social determinants of health.
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