Objective: To determine whether text mining can accurately detect specific follow-up appointment criteria in free-text hospital discharge records.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Mayo Clinic Rochester hospitals.
Participants: Inpatients discharged from general medicine services in 2006 (n = 6481).
Interventions: Textual hospital dismissal summaries were manually reviewed to determine whether the records contained specific follow-up appointment arrangement elements: date, time and either physician or location for an appointment. The data set was evaluated for the same criteria using SAS Text Miner software. The two assessments were compared to determine the accuracy of text mining for detecting records containing follow-up appointment arrangements.
Main outcome measures: Agreement of text-mined appointment findings with gold standard (manual abstraction) including sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV).
Results: About 55.2% (3576) of discharge records contained all criteria for follow-up appointment arrangements according to the manual review, 3.2% (113) of which were missed through text mining. Text mining incorrectly identified 3.7% (107) follow-up appointments that were not considered valid through manual review. Therefore, the text mining analysis concurred with the manual review in 96.6% of the appointment findings. Overall sensitivity and specificity were 96.8 and 96.3%, respectively; and PPV and NPV were 97.0 and 96.1%, respectively.
Analysis: of individual appointment criteria resulted in accuracy rates of 93.5% for date, 97.4% for time, 97.5% for physician and 82.9% for location.
Conclusion: Text mining of unstructured hospital dismissal summaries can accurately detect documentation of follow-up appointment arrangement elements, thus saving considerable resources for performance assessment and quality-related research.