Free-Text Mining to Improve Syndrome Definition Matching Across Emergency Departments


Standard syndrome definitions for ED visits in ESSENCE rely on chief complaints. Visits with more words in the chief complaint field are more likely to match syndrome definitions. While using ESSENCE, we observed geographic differences in chief complaint length, apparently related to differences in electronic health record (EHR) systems, which resulted in disparate syndrome matching across Idaho regions. We hypothesized that chief complaint and diagnosis code co-occurrence among ED visits to facilities with long chief complaints could help identify terms that would improve syndrome match among facilities with short chief complaints.


We sought to use free text mining tools to improve emergency department (ED) chief complaint and discharge diagnosis data syndrome definition matching across facilities with differing robustness of data in the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE) application in Idaho’s syndromic surveillance system.

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January, 2018

January 21, 2018

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