A framework for feature extraction from hospital medical data with applications in risk prediction

Truyen Tran, Wei Luo, Dinh Phung, Sunil Gupta, Santu Rana, Richard Lee Kennedy, Ann Larkins, Svetha Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Feature engineering is a time consuming component of predictive modeling. We propose a versatile platform to automatically extract features for risk prediction, based on a pre-defined and extensible entity schema. The extraction is independent of disease type or risk prediction task. We contrast auto-extracted features to baselines generated from the Elixhauser comorbidities. 

Results: Hospital medical records was transformed to event sequences, to which filters were applied to extract feature sets capturing diversity in temporal scales and data types. The features were evaluated on a readmission prediction task, comparing with baseline feature sets generated from the Elixhauser comorbidities. The prediction model was through logistic regression with elastic net regularization. Predictions horizons of 1, 2, 3, 6, 12 months were considered for four diverse diseases: diabetes, COPD, mental disorders and pneumonia, with derivation and validation cohorts defined on non-overlapping data-collection periods. For unplanned readmissions, auto-extracted feature set using socio-demographic information and medical records, outperformed baselines derived from the socio-demographic information and Elixhauser comorbidities, over 20 settings (5 prediction horizons over 4 diseases). In particular over 30-day prediction, the AUCs are: COPD-baseline: 0.60 (95% CI: 0.57, 0.63), auto-extracted: 0.67 (0.64, 0.70); diabetes-baseline: 0.60 (0.58, 0.63), auto-extracted: 0.67 (0.64, 0.69); mental disorders-baseline: 0.57 (0.54, 0.60), auto-extracted: 0.69 (0.64,0.70); pneumonia-baseline: 0.61 (0.59, 0.63), auto-extracted: 0.70 (0.67, 0.72). 

Conclusions: The advantages of auto-extracted standard features from complex medical records, in a disease and task agnostic manner were demonstrated. Auto-extracted features have good predictive power over multiple time horizons. Such feature sets have potential to form the foundation of complex automated analytic tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number425
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Feature extraction
  • Hospital data
  • Risk prediction

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