Health Services Research & Development

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Chen J, Lalor J, Liu W, Druhl E, Granillo E, Vimalananda VG, Yu H. Detecting Hypoglycemia Incidents Reported in Patients' Secure Messages: Using Cost-Sensitive Learning and Oversampling to Reduce Data Imbalance. Journal of medical Internet research. 2019 Mar 11; 21(3):e11990.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Improper dosing of medications such as insulin can cause hypoglycemic episodes, which may lead to severe morbidity or even death. Although secure messaging was designed for exchanging nonurgent messages, patients sometimes report hypoglycemia events through secure messaging. Detecting these patient-reported adverse events may help alert clinical teams and enable early corrective actions to improve patient safety. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to develop a natural language processing system, called HypoDetect (Hypoglycemia Detector), to automatically identify hypoglycemia incidents reported in patients'' secure messages. METHODS: An expert in public health annotated 3000 secure message threads between patients with diabetes and US Department of Veterans Affairs clinical teams as containing patient-reported hypoglycemia incidents or not. A physician independently annotated 100 threads randomly selected from this dataset to determine interannotator agreement. We used this dataset to develop and evaluate HypoDetect. HypoDetect incorporates 3 machine learning algorithms widely used for text classification: linear support vector machines, random forest, and logistic regression. We explored different learning features, including new knowledge-driven features. Because only 114 (3.80%) messages were annotated as positive, we investigated cost-sensitive learning and oversampling methods to mitigate the challenge of imbalanced data. RESULTS: The interannotator agreement was Cohen kappa=.976. Using cross-validation, logistic regression with cost-sensitive learning achieved the best performance (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve=0.954, sensitivity=0.693, specificity 0.974, F1 score=0.590). Cost-sensitive learning and the ensembled synthetic minority oversampling technique improved the sensitivity of the baseline systems substantially (by 0.123 to 0.728 absolute gains). Our results show that a variety of features contributed to the best performance of HypoDetect. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the challenge of data imbalance, HypoDetect achieved promising results for the task of detecting hypoglycemia incidents from secure messages. The system has a great potential to facilitate early detection and treatment of hypoglycemia.