Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 914–949 | Cite as

On mining latent treatment patterns from electronic medical records

  • Zhengxing Huang
  • Wei Dong
  • Peter Bath
  • Lei Ji
  • Huilong Duan


Clinical pathway (CP) analysis plays an important role in health-care management in ensuring specialized, standardized, normalized and sophisticated therapy procedures for individual patients. Recently, with the rapid development of hospital information systems, a large volume of electronic medical records (EMRs) has been produced, which provides a comprehensive source for CP analysis. In this paper, we are concerned with the problem of utilizing the heterogeneous EMRs to assist CP analysis and improvement. More specifically, we develop a probabilistic topic model to link patient features and treatment behaviors together to mine treatment patterns hidden in EMRs. Discovered treatment patterns, as actionable knowledge representing the best practice for most patients in most time of their treatment processes, form the backbone of CPs, and can be exploited to help physicians better understand their specialty and learn from previous experiences for CP analysis and improvement. Experimental results on a real collection of 985 EMRs collected from a Chinese hospital show that the proposed approach can effectively identify meaningful treatment patterns from EMRs.


Clinical pathway analysis Probabilistic topic models Latent Dirichlet allocation Pattern discovery Electronic medical records 



This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 81101126, the National Hi-Tech R&D Plan of China under Grant No 2012AA02A601, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant No 2014QNA5014. The authors would like to give special thanks to all experts who cooperated in the evaluation of the proposed method. The authors are especially thankful for the positive support received from the cooperative hospitals as well as to all medical staff involved. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhengxing Huang
    • 1
  • Wei Dong
    • 2
  • Peter Bath
    • 3
  • Lei Ji
    • 4
  • Huilong Duan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, Ministry of EducationCollege of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Science of Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyChinese PLA General HospitalBeijingChina
  3. 3.Information SchoolUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  4. 4.IT DepartmentChinese PLA General HospitalBeijingChina

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