System mines narrative reports for trends

November 28, 2004

A system that mines radiology reports for trends and findings was displayed during a scientific session Sunday.

A system that mines radiology reports for trends and findings was displayed during a scientific session Sunday.

The LEXIMER (for Lexicon Mediated Entropy Reduction) was making its second appearance at an RSNA meeting. This year, authors from Massachusetts General Hospital showed how the system could isolate reports with recommendations for additional action from those that had no recommendations and then identify patterns associated with those recommendations.

The study found, for example, that CT chest scans generated recommendations at rates ranging from 5% to 31%. Analyzing patterns over the course of seven years, the data miners found that recommendation rates for all CT scans grew from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2002.

More than 3 million unstructured radiology reports were included in the database. The overall recommendation rate was 8.2%.

The study also pulled out of the seven years of reports the recommendation rates for other modalities:

 

  • MR: 5% to 13%

 

  • radiography: 4% to 7%

 

  • fluoroscopy: 3% to 4%

 

  • mammography: 5% to 12%

 

  • nuclear medicine: 4% to 5%

 

  • PET: 3% to 28%

 

  • angiography: 11% to 18%

 

For individual radiologists, recommendation rates ranged from 3% to 15%.

Efforts now under way will expand data mining capabilities, said chief presenter Dr. Mannudeep K. Kalra. Researchers are looking for ways to merge clinical information, such as lab reports, with data mined from the radiology reports.

The system could also be made interactive. A report with a pattern contrary to the prevailing approach, for example, might be flagged for a second look by the radiologist, he said.