Conditional outlier detection for clinical alerting

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2010 Nov 13;2010:286-90.


We develop and evaluate a data-driven approach for detecting unusual (anomalous) patient-management actions using past patient cases stored in an electronic health record (EHR) system. Our hypothesis is that patient-management actions that are unusual with respect to past patients may be due to a potential error and that it is worthwhile to raise an alert if such a condition is encountered. We evaluate this hypothesis using data obtained from the electronic health records of 4,486 post-cardiac surgical patients. We base the evaluation on the opinions of a panel of experts. The results support that anomaly-based alerting can have reasonably low false alert rates and that stronger anomalies are correlated with higher alert rates.

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans