Medication Use for Childhood Pneumonia at a Children's Hospital in Shanghai, China: Analysis of Pattern Mining Algorithms


Background: Pattern mining utilizes multiple algorithms to explore objective and sometimes unexpected patterns in real-world data. This technique could be applied to electronic medical record data mining; however, it first requires a careful clinical assessment and validation.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the use of pattern mining techniques on a large clinical dataset to detect treatment and medication use patterns for childhood pneumonia.
Methods: We applied 3 pattern mining algorithms to 680,138 medication administration records from 30,512 childhood inpatients with diagnosis of pneumonia during a 6-year period at a children’s hospital in China. Patients’ ages ranged from 0 to 17 years, where 37.53% (11,453/30,512) were 0 to 3 months old, 86.55% (26,408/30,512) were under 5 years, 60.37% (18,419/30,512) were male, and 60.10% (18,338/30,512) had a hospital stay of 9 to 15 days. We used the FP-Growth, PrefixSpan, and USpan pattern mining algorithms. The first 2 are more traditional methods of pattern mining and mine a complete set of frequent medication use patterns. PrefixSpan also incorporates an administration sequence. The newer USpan method considers medication utility, defined by the dose, frequency, and timing of use of the 652 individual medications in the dataset. Together, these 3 methods identified the top 10 patterns from 6 age groups, forming a total of 180 distinct medication combinations. These medications encompassed the top 40 (73.66%, 500,982/680,138) most frequently used medications. These patterns were then evaluated by subject matter experts to summarize 5 medication use and 2 treatment patterns.
Results: We identified 5 medication use patterns: (1) antiasthmatics and expectorants and corticosteroids, (2) antibiotics and (antiasthmatics or expectorants or corticosteroids), (3) third-generation cephalosporin antibiotics with (or followed by) traditional antibiotics, (4) antibiotics and (medications for enteritis or skin diseases), and (5) (antiasthmatics or expectorants or corticosteroids) and (medications for enteritis or skin diseases). We also identified 2 frequent treatment patterns: (1) 42.89% (291,701/680,138) of specific medication administration records were of intravenous therapy with antibiotics, diluents, and nutritional supplements and (2) 11.53% (78,390/680,138) were of various combinations of inhalation of antiasthmatics, expectorants, or corticosteroids. Fleiss kappa for the subject experts’ evaluation was 0.693, indicating moderate agreement.
Conclusions: Utilizing a pattern mining approach, we summarized 5 medication use patterns and 2 treatment patterns. These warrant further investigation.
Last updated on 03/11/2021