Visualizing the data - using lifelines2 to gain insights from data drawn from a clinical data repository

AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2013 Mar 18;2013:168-72. eCollection 2013.


The field of visual analytics continues to expand into the realm of electronic health record (EHR) analysis. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Lifelines2, a visualization program from the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, was recently integrated into the NIH's clinical repository, the Biomedical Translational Research Information System (BTRIS). To explore the functionality of Lifelines2, two markers of inflammation - erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) - were compared on patients both with and without the rare immune disorder chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) using ten years of de-identified patient data. We used Lifelines2 to visualize correlations among 12,266 laboratory events on 622 patients. The findings from our unrestricted sample identify areas warranting further studies on population subsets in which clinical features (such as disease activity) are known. Overall, visual aids such as Lifelines2 allowed for both rapid and powerful interpretation of EHR data.