Metadata from data: identifying holidays from anesthesia data

J Med Syst. 2015 May;39(5):44. doi: 10.1007/s10916-015-0232-4. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


The increasingly large databases available to researchers necessitate high-quality metadata that is not always available. We describe a method for generating this metadata independently. Cluster analysis and expectation-maximization were used to separate days into holidays/weekends and regular workdays using anesthesia data from Vanderbilt University Medical Center from 2004 to 2014. This classification was then used to describe differences between the two sets of days over time. We evaluated 3802 days and correctly categorized 3797 based on anesthesia case time (representing an error rate of 0.13%). Use of other metrics for categorization, such as billed anesthesia hours and number of anesthesia cases per day, led to similar results. Analysis of the two categories showed that surgical volume increased more quickly with time for non-holidays than holidays (p < 0.001). We were able to successfully generate metadata from data by distinguishing holidays based on anesthesia data. This data can then be used for economic analysis and scheduling purposes. It is possible that the method can be expanded to similar bimodal and multimodal variables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration
  • Anesthesia / statistics & numerical data*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Holidays / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / methods
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Operations Research
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors