Controlling testing volume for respiratory viruses using machine learning and text mining.


Viral testing for pediatric inpatients with respiratory symptoms is common, with considerable associated charges. In an attempt to reduce testing volumes, we studied whether data available at the time of admission could aid in identifying children with low likelihood of having a particular viral origin of their symptoms, and thus safely forgo broad viral testing. We collected clinical data for 1,685 pediatric inpatients receiving respiratory virus testing from 2010-2012. Machine-learning on the data allowed us to construct pre-test models predicting whether a patient would test positive for a particular virus. Text mining improved the predictions for one viral test. Cost-sensitive models optimized for test sensitivity showed reasonable test specificities and an ability to reduce test volume by up to 46% for single viral tests. We conclude that diverse forms of data in the electronic medical record can be used productively to build models that help physicians reduce testing volumes.

AMIA … Annual Symposium proceedings. AMIA Symposium