Automated data mining: an innovative and efficient web-based approach to maintaining resident case logs

J Grad Med Educ. 2010 Dec;2(4):566-70. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-10-00025.1.


Background: Use of resident case logs has been considered by the Residency Review Committee for Neurology of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Objective: This study explores the effectiveness of a data-mining program for creating resident logs and compares the results to a manual data-entry system. Other potential applications of data mining to enhancing resident education are also explored.

Design/methods: Patient notes dictated by residents were extracted from the Hospital Information System and analyzed using an unstructured mining program. History, examination and ICD codes were obtained and compared to the existing manual log. The automated data History, examination, and ICD codes were gathered for a 30-day period and compared to manual case logs.

Results: The automated method extracted all resident dictations with the dates of encounter and transcription. The automated data-miner processed information from all 19 residents, while only 4 residents logged manually. The manual method identified only broad categories of diseases; the major categories were stroke or vascular disorder 53 (27.6%), epilepsy 28 (14.7%), and pain syndromes 26 (13.5%). In the automated method, epilepsy 114 (21.1%), cerebral atherosclerosis 114 (21.1%), and headache 105 (19.4%) were the most frequent primary diagnoses, and headache 89 (16.5%), seizures 94 (17.4%), and low back pain 47 (9%) were the most common chief complaints. More detailed patient information such as tobacco use 227 (42%), alcohol use 205 (38%), and drug use 38 (7%) were extracted by the data-mining method.

Conclusions: Manual case logs are time-consuming, provide limited information, and may be unpopular with residents. Data mining is a time-effective tool that may aid in the assessment of resident experience or the ACGME core competencies or in resident clinical research. More study of this method in larger numbers of residency programs is needed.