Enhancing Pressure Injury Surveillance Using Natural Language Processing

J Patient Saf. 2024 Mar 1;20(2):119-124. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000001193. Epub 2023 Dec 26.


Objective: This study assessed the feasibility of nursing handoff notes to identify underreported hospital-acquired pressure injury (HAPI) events.

Methods: We have established a natural language processing-assisted manual review process and workflow for data extraction from a corpus of nursing notes across all medical inpatient and intensive care units in a tertiary care pediatric center. This system is trained by 2 domain experts. Our workflow started with keywords around HAPI and treatments, then regular expressions, distributive semantics, and finally a document classifier. We generated 3 models: a tri-gram classifier, binary logistic regression model using the regular expressions as predictors, and a random forest model using both models together. Our final output presented to the event screener was generated using a random forest model validated using derivation and validation sets.

Results: Our initial corpus involved 70,981 notes during a 1-year period from 5484 unique admissions for 4220 patients. Our interrater human reviewer agreement on identifying HAPI was high ( κ = 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58-0.75). Our random forest model had 95% sensitivity (95% CI, 90.6%-99.3%), 71.2% specificity (95% CI, 65.1%-77.2%), and 78.7% accuracy (95% CI, 74.1%-83.2%). A total of 264 notes from 148 unique admissions (2.7% of all admissions) were identified describing likely HAPI. Sixty-one described new injuries, and 64 describe known yet possibly evolving injuries. Relative to the total patient population during our study period, HAPI incidence was 11.9 per 1000 discharges, and incidence rate was 1.2 per 1000 bed-days.

Conclusions: Natural language processing-based surveillance is proven to be feasible and high yield using nursing handoff notes.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Natural Language Processing*
  • Pressure Ulcer* / diagnosis
  • Pressure Ulcer* / epidemiology