Mining 100 million notes to find homelessness and adverse childhood experiences: 2 case studies of rare and severe social determinants of health in electronic health records

Mining 100 million notes to find homelessness and adverse childhood experiences: 2 case studies of rare and severe social determinants of health in electronic health records

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.

JOURNAL: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017