Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Electronic Health Record Summarization over Heterogeneous and Irregularly Sampled Clinical Data

Pivovarov, Rimma

The increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has led to an unprecedented amount of patient health information stored in an electronic format. The ability to comb through this information is imperative, both for patient care and computational modeling. Creating a system to minimize unnecessary EHR data, automatically distill longitudinal patient information, and highlight salient parts of a patient’s record is currently an unmet need. However, summarization of EHR data is not a trivial task, as there exist many challenges with reasoning over this data. EHR data elements are most often obtained at irregular intervals as patients are more likely to receive medical care when they are ill, than when they are healthy. The presence of narrative documentation adds another layer of complexity as the notes are riddled with over-sampled text, often caused by the frequent copy-and-pasting during the documentation process.
This dissertation synthesizes a set of challenges for automated EHR summarization identified in the literature and presents an array of methods for dealing with some of these challenges. We used hybrid data-driven and knowledge-based approaches to examine abundant redundancy in clinical narrative text, a data-driven approach to identify and mitigate biases in laboratory testing patterns with implications for using clinical data for research, and a probabilistic modeling approach to automatically summarize patient records and learn computational models of disease with heterogeneous data types. The dissertation also demonstrates two applications of the developed methods to important clinical questions: the questions of laboratory test overutilization and cohort selection from EHR data.


  • thumnail for Pivovarov_columbia_0054D_13066.pdf Pivovarov_columbia_0054D_13066.pdf binary/octet-stream 9.26 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Informatics
Thesis Advisors
Elhadad, Noemie
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
December 8, 2015