Analytical methods for identifying sequences of utilization in health data: a scoping review

Amelie Flothow, Anna Novelli, Leonie Sundmacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Healthcare, as with other sectors, has undergone progressive digitalization, generating an ever-increasing wealth of data that enables research and the analysis of patient movement. This can help to evaluate treatment processes and outcomes, and in turn improve the quality of care. This scoping review provides an overview of the algorithms and methods that have been used to identify care pathways from healthcare utilization data. Method: This review was conducted according to the methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) Checklist. The PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and EconLit databases were searched and studies published in English between 2000 and 2021 considered. The search strategy used keywords divided into three categories: the method of data analysis, the requirement profile for the data, and the intended presentation of results. Criteria for inclusion were that health data were analyzed, the methodology used was described and that the chronology of care events was considered. In a two-stage review process, records were reviewed by two researchers independently for inclusion. Results were synthesized narratively. Results: The literature search yielded 2,865 entries; 51 studies met the inclusion criteria. Health data from different countries (n= 12) and of different types of disease (n= 26) were analyzed with respect to different care events. Applied methods can be divided into those identifying subsequences of care and those describing full care trajectories. Variants of pattern mining or Markov models were mostly used to extract subsequences, with clustering often applied to find care trajectories. Statistical algorithms such as rule mining, probability-based machine learning algorithms or a combination of methods were also applied. Clustering methods were sometimes used for data preparation or result compression. Further characteristics of the included studies are presented. Conclusion: Various data mining methods are already being applied to gain insight from health data. The great heterogeneity of the methods used shows the need for a scoping review. We performed a narrative review and found that clustering methods currently dominate the literature for identifying complete care trajectories, while variants of pattern mining dominate for identifying subsequences of limited length.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Care pathway
  • Claims data
  • Data mining method
  • Health data
  • Patient pathway
  • Pattern mining
  • Scoping review
  • Sequences

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