Publications by authors named "Olga V Patterson"

38 Publications

Association between HIV and incident pulmonary hypertension in US Veterans: a retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Healthy Longev 2021 Jul 16;2(7):e417-e425. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Pulmonary hypertension incidence based on echocardiographic estimates of pulmonary artery systolic pressure in people living with HIV remains unstudied. We aimed to determine whether people living with HIV have higher incidence and risk of pulmonary hypertension than uninfected individuals.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we evaluated data from participants in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) referred for echocardiography with baseline pulmonary artery systolic pressure measures of 35 mm Hg or less. Incident pulmonary hypertension was defined as pulmonary artery systolic pressure higher than 35 mm Hg on subsequent echocardiogram. We used Poisson regression to estimate incidence rates (IRs) of pulmonary hypertension by HIV status. We then estimated hazard ratios (HRs) by HIV status using Cox proportional hazards regression. We further categorised veterans with HIV by CD4 count or HIV viral load to assess the association between pulmonary hypertension risk and HIV severity. Models included age, sex, race or ethnicity, prevalent heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, smoking status, diabetes, body-mass index, estimated glomerular filtration rate, hepatitis C virus infection, liver cirrhosis, and drug use as covariates.

Findings: Of 21 314 VACS participants with at least one measured PASP on or after April 1, 2003, 13 028 VACS participants were included in the analytic sample (4174 [32%] with HIV and 8854 [68%] without HIV). Median age was 58 years and 12 657 (97%) were male. Median follow-up time was 3·1 years (IQR 0·9-6·8) spanning from April 1, 2003, to Sept 30, 2017. Unadjusted IRs per 1000 person-years were higher in veterans with HIV (IR 28·6 [95% CI 26·1-31·3]) than in veterans without HIV (IR 23·4 [21·9-24·9]; p=0·0004). The risk of incident pulmonary hypertension was higher among veterans with HIV than among veterans without HIV (unadjusted HR 1·25 [95% CI 1·12-1·40], p<0·0001). After multivariable adjustment, this association was slightly attenuated but remained significant (HR 1·18 [1·05-1·34], p=0·0062). Veterans with HIV who had a CD4 count lower than 200 cells per μL or of 200-499 cells per μL had a higher risk of pulmonary hypertension than did veterans without HIV (HR 1·94 [1·49-2·54], p<0·0001, for those with <200 cell μL and HR 1·29 [1·08-1·53], p=0·0048, for those with 200-499 cells per μL). Similarly, veterans with HIV who had HIV viral loads of 500 copies per mL or more had a higher risk of pulmonary hypertension than did veterans without HIV (HR 1·88 [1·46-2·42], p<0·0001).

Interpretation: HIV is associated with pulmonary hypertension incidence, adjusting for risk factors. Low CD4 cell count and high HIV viral load contribute to increased pulmonary hypertension risk among veterans with HIV. Thus, as with other cardiopulmonary diseases, suppression of HIV should be prioritised to lessen the burden of pulmonary hypertension in people living with HIV.

Funding: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health, USA); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (National Institutes of Health, USA).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s2666-7568(21)00116-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8294078PMC
July 2021

Improvements to PTSD quality metrics with natural language processing.

J Eval Clin Pract 2021 May 24. Epub 2021 May 24.

VA Medical Center, San Francisco, California, USA.

Rationale Aims And Objectives: As quality measurement becomes increasingly reliant on the availability of structured electronic medical record (EMR) data, clinicians are asked to perform documentation using tools that facilitate data capture. These tools may not be available, feasible, or acceptable in all clinical scenarios. Alternative methods of assessment, including natural language processing (NLP) of clinical notes, may improve the completeness of quality measurement in real-world practice. Our objective was to measure the quality of care for a set of evidence-based practices using structured EMR data alone, and then supplement those measures with additional data derived from NLP.

Method: As a case example, we studied the quality of care for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over a 20-year period. We measured two aspects of PTSD care, including delivery of evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) and associated use of measurement-based care (MBC), using structured EMR data. We then recalculated these measures using additional data derived from NLP of clinical note text.

Results: There were 2 098 389 VA patients with a diagnosis of PTSD between 2000 and 2019, 72% (n = 1 515 345) of whom had not previously received EBP for PTSD and were treated after a 2015 mandate to document EBP using templates that generate structured EMR data. Using structured EMR data, we determined that 3.2% (n = 48 004) of those patients met our EBP for PTSD quality standard between 2015 and 2019, and 48.1% (n = 23 088) received associated MBC. With the addition of NLP-derived data, estimates increased to 4.1% (n = 62 789) and 58.0% (n = 36 435), respectively.

Conclusion: Healthcare quality data can be significantly improved by supplementing structured EMR data with NLP-derived data. By using NLP, health systems may be able to fill the gaps in documentation when structured tools are not yet available or there are barriers to using them in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jep.13587DOI Listing
May 2021

Effectiveness and comparative effectiveness of evidence-based psychotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder in clinical practice.

Psychol Med 2021 May 18:1-10. Epub 2021 May 18.

Mental Health Service, White River Junction VA Medical Center, and National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Executive Division, White River Junction, VT.

Background: While evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a first-line treatment, its real-world effectiveness is unknown. We compared cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) each to an individual psychotherapy comparator group, and CPT to PE in a large national healthcare system.

Methods: We utilized effectiveness and comparative effectiveness emulated trials using retrospective cohort data from electronic medical records. Participants were veterans with PTSD initiating mental healthcare (N = 265 566). The primary outcome was PTSD symptoms measured by the PTSD Checklist (PCL) at baseline and 24-week follow-up. Emulated trials were comprised of 'person-trials,' representing 112 discrete 24-week periods of care (10/07-6/17) for each patient. Treatment group comparisons were made with generalized linear models, utilizing propensity score matching and inverse probability weights to account for confounding, selection, and non-adherence bias.

Results: There were 636 CPT person-trials matched to 636 non-EBP person-trials. Completing ⩾8 CPT sessions was associated with a 6.4-point greater improvement on the PCL (95% CI 3.1-10.0). There were 272 PE person-trials matched to 272 non-EBP person-trials. Completing ⩾8 PE sessions was associated with a 9.7-point greater improvement on the PCL (95% CI 5.4-13.8). There were 232 PE person-trials matched to 232 CPT person-trials. Those completing ⩾8 PE sessions had slightly greater, but not statistically significant, improvement on the PCL (8.3-points; 95% CI 5.9-10.6) than those completing ⩾8 CPT sessions (7.0-points; 95% CI 5.5-8.5).

Conclusions: PTSD symptom improvement was similar and modest for both EBPs. Although EBPs are helpful, research to further improve PTSD care is critical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291721001628DOI Listing
May 2021

Automated Travel History Extraction From Clinical Notes for Informing the Detection of Emergent Infectious Disease Events: Algorithm Development and Validation.

JMIR Public Health Surveill 2021 03 24;7(3):e26719. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Salt Lake City, UT, United States.

Background: Patient travel history can be crucial in evaluating evolving infectious disease events. Such information can be challenging to acquire in electronic health records, as it is often available only in unstructured text.

Objective: This study aims to assess the feasibility of annotating and automatically extracting travel history mentions from unstructured clinical documents in the Department of Veterans Affairs across disparate health care facilities and among millions of patients. Information about travel exposure augments existing surveillance applications for increased preparedness in responding quickly to public health threats.

Methods: Clinical documents related to arboviral disease were annotated following selection using a semiautomated bootstrapping process. Using annotated instances as training data, models were developed to extract from unstructured clinical text any mention of affirmed travel locations outside of the continental United States. Automated text processing models were evaluated, involving machine learning and neural language models for extraction accuracy.

Results: Among 4584 annotated instances, 2659 (58%) contained an affirmed mention of travel history, while 347 (7.6%) were negated. Interannotator agreement resulted in a document-level Cohen kappa of 0.776. Automated text processing accuracy (F1 85.6, 95% CI 82.5-87.9) and computational burden were acceptable such that the system can provide a rapid screen for public health events.

Conclusions: Automated extraction of patient travel history from clinical documents is feasible for enhanced passive surveillance public health systems. Without such a system, it would usually be necessary to manually review charts to identify recent travel or lack of travel, use an electronic health record that enforces travel history documentation, or ignore this potential source of information altogether. The development of this tool was initially motivated by emergent arboviral diseases. More recently, this system was used in the early phases of response to COVID-19 in the United States, although its utility was limited to a relatively brief window due to the rapid domestic spread of the virus. Such systems may aid future efforts to prevent and contain the spread of infectious diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/26719DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7993087PMC
March 2021

Computerized Mortality Prediction for Community-acquired Pneumonia at 117 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Ann Am Thorac Soc 2021 07;18(7):1175-1184

Department of Epidemiology.

Computerized severity assessment for community-acquired pneumonia could improve consistency and reduce clinician burden. To develop and compare 30-day mortality-prediction models using electronic health record data, including a computerized score with all variables from the original Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) except confusion and pleural effusion ("ePSI score") versus models with additional variables. Among adults with community-acquired pneumonia presenting to emergency departments at 117 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2016, we compared an ePSI score with 10 novel models employing logistic regression, spline, and machine learning methods using PSI variables, age, sex and 26 physiologic variables as well as all 69 PSI variables. Models were trained using encounters before January 1, 2015; tested on encounters during and after January 1, 2015; and compared using the areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve, confidence intervals, and patient event rates at a threshold PSI score of 970. Among 297,498 encounters, 7% resulted in death within 30 days. When compared using the ePSI score (confidence interval [CI] for the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.77-0.78), performance increased with model complexity (CI for the logistic regression PSI model, 0.79-0.80; CI for the boosted decision-tree algorithm machine learning PSI model using the algorithm [mlPSI] with the 19 original PSI factors, 0.83-0.85) and the number of variables (CI for the logistic regression PSI model using all 69 variables, 0.84-085; CI for the mlPSI with all 69 variables, 0.86-0.87). Models limited to age, sex, and physiologic variables also demonstrated high performance (CI for the mlPSI with age, sex, and 26 physiologic factors, 0.84-0.85). At an ePSI score of 970 and a mortality-risk cutoff of <2.7%, the ePSI score identified 31% of all patients as being at "low risk"; the mlPSI with age, sex, and 26 physiologic factors identified 53% of all patients as being at low risk; and the mlPSI with all 69 variables identified 56% of all patients as being at low risk, with similar rates of mortality, hospitalization, and 7-day secondary hospitalization being determined. Computerized versions of the PSI accurately identified patients with pneumonia who were at low risk of death. More complex models classified more patients as being at low risk of death and as having similar adverse outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202011-1372OCDOI Listing
July 2021

Computerized Mortality Prediction for Community-acquired Pneumonia at 117 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Ann Am Thorac Soc 2021 07;18(7):1175-1184

Department of Epidemiology.

Computerized severity assessment for community-acquired pneumonia could improve consistency and reduce clinician burden. To develop and compare 30-day mortality-prediction models using electronic health record data, including a computerized score with all variables from the original Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) except confusion and pleural effusion ("ePSI score") versus models with additional variables. Among adults with community-acquired pneumonia presenting to emergency departments at 117 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2016, we compared an ePSI score with 10 novel models employing logistic regression, spline, and machine learning methods using PSI variables, age, sex and 26 physiologic variables as well as all 69 PSI variables. Models were trained using encounters before January 1, 2015; tested on encounters during and after January 1, 2015; and compared using the areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve, confidence intervals, and patient event rates at a threshold PSI score of 970. Among 297,498 encounters, 7% resulted in death within 30 days. When compared using the ePSI score (confidence interval [CI] for the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.77-0.78), performance increased with model complexity (CI for the logistic regression PSI model, 0.79-0.80; CI for the boosted decision-tree algorithm machine learning PSI model using the algorithm [mlPSI] with the 19 original PSI factors, 0.83-0.85) and the number of variables (CI for the logistic regression PSI model using all 69 variables, 0.84-085; CI for the mlPSI with all 69 variables, 0.86-0.87). Models limited to age, sex, and physiologic variables also demonstrated high performance (CI for the mlPSI with age, sex, and 26 physiologic factors, 0.84-0.85). At an ePSI score of 970 and a mortality-risk cutoff of <2.7%, the ePSI score identified 31% of all patients as being at "low risk"; the mlPSI with age, sex, and 26 physiologic factors identified 53% of all patients as being at low risk; and the mlPSI with all 69 variables identified 56% of all patients as being at low risk, with similar rates of mortality, hospitalization, and 7-day secondary hospitalization being determined. Computerized versions of the PSI accurately identified patients with pneumonia who were at low risk of death. More complex models classified more patients as being at low risk of death and as having similar adverse outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202011-1372OCDOI Listing
July 2021

Geographic Variation in Initiation of Evidence-based Psychotherapy Among Veterans With PTSD.

Mil Med 2021 08;186(9-10):e858-e866

White River Junction VA Medical Center, VT 05009, USA.

Introduction: The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has invested in implementation of evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for over a decade, resulting in slow but steady uptake of these treatments nationally. However, no prior research has investigated the geographic variation in initiation of EBP. Our objectives were to determine whether there is geographic variation in the initiation of EBP for PTSD in the VA and to identify patient and clinic factors associated with EBP initiation.

Materials And Methods: We identified VA patients with PTSD who had not received EBP as of January 2016 (N = 946,667) using retrospective electronic medical records data and determined whether they initiated EBP by December 2017. We illustrated geographic variation in EBP initiation using national and regional maps. Using multivariate logistic regression, we determined patient, regional, and nearest VA facility predictors of initiating treatment. This study was approved by the Veterans Institutional Review Board of Northern New England.

Results: Nationally, 4.8% (n = 45,895) initiated EBP from 2016 to 2017, and there was geographic variation, ranging from none to almost 30% at the 3-digit ZIP code level. The strongest patient predictors of EBP initiation were the negative predictor of being older than 65 years (OR = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.45-0.49) and the positive predictor of reporting military-related sexual trauma (OR = 1.96; 95% CI, 1.90-2.03). The strongest regional predictors of EBP initiation were the negative predictor of living in the Northeast (OR = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86-0.92) and the positive predictor of living in the Midwest (OR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.44-1.51). The only nearest VA facility predictor of EBP initiation was the positive predictor of whether the facility was a VA Medical Center with a specialized PTSD clinic (OR = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.20-1.26).

Conclusion: Although less than 5% of VA patients with PTSD initiated EBP, there was regional variation. Patient factors, region of residence, and nearest VA facility characteristics were all associated with whether patients initiated EBP. Strengths of this study include the use of national longitudinal data, while weaknesses include the potential for misclassification of PTSD diagnoses as well as the potential for misidentification of EBP. Our work indicates geographic areas where access to EBP for PTSD may be poor and can help target work improving access. Future studies should also assess completion of EBP for PTSD and related symptomatic and functional outcomes across geographic areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usaa389DOI Listing
August 2021

Determining the median effective dose of prolonged exposure therapy for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Behav Res Ther 2020 12 20;135:103756. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, United States; Sierra Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, United States; University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, United States.

Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Identifying metrics of treatment response can guide treatment delivery. The median effective dose represents the number of sessions at which there is a 50% probability of clinically meaningful improvement (i.e., 10-point reduction in PTSD checklist). The goal of the current study was to investigate the median effective dose of PE. We identified a cohort of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who received psychotherapy for PTSD in the Veterans Health Administration between 2001 and 2017. From this cohort, 10,234 veterans who received PE (as identified using natural language processing) and had ≥2 PTSD symptom measures were included in analyses. To determine how the number of PE sessions and covariates affected clinically meaningful improvement, we utilized a Cox proportional hazards regression, followed by Kaplan-Meier curves to determine the median effective dose. The median effective dose of PE was four sessions. Although some covariates were found to be statistically significant predictors of clinically meaningful improvement (e.g., age, gender, PTSD medications, and depressive disorder comorbidity), these effects were small. Clinicians and patients should consider evaluating treatment response after four sessions to determine preliminary effectiveness of PE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103756DOI Listing
December 2020

The Utility of Clinical Notes for Sexual Minority Health Research.

Am J Prev Med 2020 11 1;59(5):755-763. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah; Division of Epidemiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Introduction: Despite improvements in electronic medical record capability to collect data on sexual orientation, not all healthcare systems have adopted this practice. This can limit the usability of systemwide electronic medical record data for sexual minority research. One viable resource might be the documentation of sexual orientation within clinical notes. The authors developed an approach to identify sexual orientation documentation and subsequently derived a cohort of sexual minority patients using clinical notes from the Veterans Health Administration electronic medical record.

Methods: A hybrid natural language processing approach was developed and used to identify and categorize instances of terms and phrases related to sexual orientation in Veterans Health Administration clinical notes from 2000 to 2019. System performance was assessed with positive predictive value and sensitivity. Data were analyzed in 2019.

Results: A total of 2,413,584 sexual minority terms/phrases were found within clinical notes, of which 439,039 (18%) were found to be related to patient sexual orientation with a positive predictive value of 85.9%. Documentation of sexual orientation was found for 115,312 patients. When compared with 2,262 patients with a record of administrative coding for homosexuality, the system found mentions of sexual orientation for 1,808 patients (79.9% sensitivity).

Conclusions: When systemwide structured data are unavailable or inconsistent, deriving a cohort of sexual minority patients in electronic medical records for research is possible and permits longitudinal analysis across multiple clinical domains. Although limitations and challenges to the approach were identified, this study makes an important step forward for the Veterans Health Administration sexual minority research, and the methodology can be applied in other healthcare organizations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.05.026DOI Listing
November 2020

Cognitive Processing Therapy for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: What is the Median Effective Dose?

J Affect Disord 2020 08 22;273:425-433. Epub 2020 May 22.

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System; Sierra Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center; University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Objective: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) has been disseminated in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Identifying the median effective dose (MED) of CPT, the number of sessions at which the probability of experiencing clinically meaningful improvement (CMI) is 50%, can assist with treatment.

Method: From a cohort of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who received PTSD psychotherapy in VHA between 2001-2017, veterans who received CPT with available PTSD symptom outcomes (PTSD Checklist; PCL) were identified using natural language processing (n=26,189). Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine how number of CPT sessions, together with covariates, influenced CMI (10-point PCL reduction). Kaplan-Meier curves were plotted to determine MED.

Results: At eight sessions, there was a 50% probability of experiencing CMI. The Cox proportional hazard regression indicated a greater likelihood of CMI in fewer sessions for veterans who received individual-only CPT versus any group CPT (HR:1.31, 95%CI:1.23-1.39). Kaplan-Meier curves indicated a 50% probability of experiencing CMI at seven sessions for veterans who received individual-only CPT versus ten sessions for veterans receiving any group CPT.

Limitations: PCL data was not available for all veterans who received CPT or at each potential assessment point. Not all veterans continued in CPT until CMI was observed.

Conclusions: The MED of CPT was eight sessions. Fewer sessions were needed to reach MED for veterans who received individual versus group CPT. These results may help those who treat, research, and are recovering from PTSD through accurately anchoring treatment expectations and providing a marker of initial treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.04.030DOI Listing
August 2020

Factors associated with PTSD symptom improvement among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving evidenced-based psychotherapy.

J Affect Disord 2020 08 1;273:1-7. Epub 2020 May 1.

White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Executive Division.

Background: Despite availability of evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not all veterans who initiate EBPs experience benefit. Better understanding factors associated with clinically significant improvement can help ameliorate care.

Methods: A cohort of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who initiated an EBP was identified (N = 32,780) with ≥1 post-deployment psychotherapy visit at the Veterans Health Administration from 10/2001-6/2017, a post-deployment PTSD diagnosis, and ≥2 PTSD symptom measures. We used random-effects logistic regression to assess whether patient-level, diagnostic, and treatment factors were associated with achieving symptom improvement.

Results: Increased odds of PTSD symptom improvement were seen in women (OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.09--1.29), those who initiated EBP within a year of engaging in mental healthcare compared with the delayed EBP group (OR = 1.20; 95% CI: 1.14--1.28), those who completed at least 8 EBP sessions in 16 weeks (OR = 1.23; 95% CI:1.11--1.36), those who received PE only (vs. CPT or both; OR = 2.23; 95% CI: 1.86--2.68) or CPT individual therapy only (vs. CPT group or both; OR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.22--1.48), and those with a drug dependence diagnosis (OR = 1.24; 95% CI: 1.11--1.39). Decreased odds of improvement were seen in Black veterans (OR=0.75; 95% CI: 0.69--0.81) and those with service-connected disability (OR = 0.61; 95% CI: 0.52--0.71).

Limitations: Diagnoses were from medical charts and not confirmed with gold standard assessment tools; we only included veterans with at least two PTSD measurements, which may cause bias.

Conclusion: Modifiable factors associated with PTSD improvement (timing, dose, and modality) can be used to improve EBP outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.04.039DOI Listing
August 2020

Evidence-based psychotherapy trends among posttraumatic stress disorder patients in a national healthcare system, 2001-2014.

Depress Anxiety 2020 04 18;37(4):356-364. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Mental Health Service, White River Junction VA Medical Center, and National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Executive Division, White River Junction, Vermont.

Background: Although evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were implemented starting in 2005 in the veterans health administration (VHA), the largest national healthcare system in the U.S., the rate of initiation (uptake) and prevalence of these treatments in each calendar year have not been determined. We aimed to elucidate two metrics of EBP utilization, uptake and prevalence, following implementation.

Methods: Cohort study of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in VHA (N = 181,620) with a PTSD diagnosis and ≥1 psychotherapy-coded outpatient visit from 2001 to 2014. Using natural language processing techniques, annual and cumulative uptake and prevalence rates from 2001 to 2014 were calculated for each of the two EBPs for PTSD, cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) therapy.

Results: Annual uptake of CPT increased during most years, reaching a maximum of 11.1%. Annual uptake of PE showed little change until 2008 and then increased, reaching a maximum of 4.4%. The annual prevalence of CPT increased throughout the study, reaching a maximum of 14.6%. The annual prevalence of PE increased to a maximum of 5.0% in 2010, but then flattened and declined. Annual uptake of minimally adequate CPT increased a to maximum of 5% in 2014. Annual uptake of minimally adequate PE increased to a maximum of 1.2% in 2010. The cumulative prevalence of CPT was 19.9% and cumulative prevalence for PE was 7.5%.

Conclusions: Access to EBPs for PTSD modestly increased for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans after nationwide implementation efforts. Further expanding the reach to veterans is critical, given low rates of minimally adequate EBPs for PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/da.22983DOI Listing
April 2020

Characteristics and Healthcare Utilization Among Veterans Treated for Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction Who Switched to Sacubitril/Valsartan.

Circ Heart Fail 2019 11 13;12(11):e005691. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Department of Population Health Sciences (J.B.K., A.P.B.), University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.

Background: US guidelines recommend that patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), who tolerate an ACEI (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor) or ARB (angiotensin II receptor blocker), be switched to sacubitril/valsartan to reduce morbidity and mortality. We compared characteristics and healthcare utilization between Veterans with HFrEF who were switched to sacubitril/valsartan versus maintained on an ACEI or ARB.

Methods: retrospective cohort study of treated HFrEF (July 2015-June 2017) using Veterans Affairs data. The index date was the first fill for sacubitril/valsartan and if none, for an ACEI or ARB. Treated HFrEF was defined by (1) left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40%, (2) ≥1 in/outpatient HF encounter, and (3) ≥1 ACEI or ARB fill, all within 1-year preindex. Poisson regression models were used to compare baseline characteristics and 1:1 propensity score-matched adjusted 4-month follow-up healthcare utilization between sacubitril/valsartan switchers and ACEI or ARB maintainers.

Results: Switchers (1612; 4.2%) were less likely than maintainers (37 065; 95.8%) to have a history of myocardial infarction or hypertension, and more likely to be black, have a lower left ventricular ejection fraction, and higher preindex healthcare utilization. Switchers were less likely to experience follow-up all-cause hospitalizations (11.2% versus 14.0%; risk ratio 0.80 [95% CI, 0.65-0.98], value 0.035).

Conclusions: Few Veterans with treated HFrEF were switched to sacubitril/valsartan within the first 2 years of Food and Drug Administration approval. Sacubitril/valsartan use was associated with a lower risk for all-cause hospitalizations at 4 months follow-up. Reasons for lack of guideline-recommended sacubitril/valsartan initiation warrant investigation and may reveal opportunities for HFrEF care optimization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.118.005691DOI Listing
November 2019

Transparent Reporting on Research Using Unstructured Electronic Health Record Data to Generate 'Real World' Evidence of Comparative Effectiveness and Safety.

Drug Saf 2019 11;42(11):1297-1309

Pfizer, London, UK.

Research that makes secondary use of administrative and clinical healthcare databases is increasingly influential for regulatory, reimbursement, and other healthcare decision-making. Consequently, there are numerous guidance documents on reporting for studies that use 'real-world' data captured in administrative claims and electronic health record (EHR) databases. These guidance documents are intended to improve transparency, reproducibility, and the ability to evaluate validity and relevance of design and analysis decisions. However, existing guidance does not differentiate between structured and unstructured information contained in EHRs, registries, or other healthcare data sources. While unstructured text is convenient and readily interpretable in clinical practice, it can be difficult to use for investigation of causal questions, e.g., comparative effectiveness and safety, until data have been cleaned and algorithms applied to extract relevant information to structured fields for analysis. The goal of this paper is to increase transparency for healthcare decision makers and causal inference researchers by providing general recommendations for reporting on steps taken to make unstructured text-based data usable for comparative effectiveness and safety research. These recommendations are designed to be used as an adjunct for existing reporting guidance. They are intended to provide sufficient context and supporting information for causal inference studies involving use of natural language processing- or machine learning-derived data fields, so that researchers, reviewers, and decision makers can be confident in their ability to evaluate the validity and relevance of derived measures for exposures, inclusion/exclusion criteria, covariates, and outcomes for the causal question of interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40264-019-00851-0DOI Listing
November 2019

Automatic Methods to Extract Prescription Status Quality Measures from Unstructured Health Records.

Stud Health Technol Inform 2019 Aug;264:15-19

VA Salt Lake City Health Care System.

Hospital systems frequently implement quality measures to quantify healthcare processes and patient outcomes. One such measure that has previously been used is the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) quality measure of perioperative beta blocker continuation, SCIP-Card-2. The SCIP-Card-2 measure requires resource-intensive medical chart abstraction, limiting its application to a small sample of eligible patients. This paper describes a natural language processing (NLP) system for automatic extraction of SCIP-Card-2 quality measures in clinical text notes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/SHTI190174DOI Listing
August 2019

Angina Severity, Mortality, and Healthcare Utilization Among Veterans With Stable Angina.

J Am Heart Assoc 2019 08 31;8(15):e012811. Epub 2019 Jul 31.

Department of Population Health Sciences University of Utah Salt Lake City UT.

Background Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) angina severity classification is associated with mortality, myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularization in clinical trial and registry data. The objective of this study was to determine associations between CCS class and all-cause mortality and healthcare utilization, using natural language processing to extract CCS classifications from clinical notes. Methods and Results In this retrospective cohort study of veterans in the United States with stable angina from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2013, natural language processing extracted CCS classifications. Veterans with a prior diagnosis of coronary artery disease were excluded. Outcomes included all-cause mortality (primary), all-cause and cardiovascular-specific hospitalizations, coronary revascularization, and 1-year healthcare costs. Of 299 577 veterans identified, 14 216 (4.7%) had ≥1 CCS classification extracted by natural language processing. The mean age was 66.6±9.8 years, 99% of participants were male, and 81% were white. During a median follow-up of 3.4 years, all-cause mortality rates were 4.58, 4.60, 6.22, and 6.83 per 100 person-years for CCS classes I, II, III, and IV, respectively. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality comparing CCS II, III, and IV with those in class I were 1.05 (95% CI, 0.95-1.15), 1.33 (95% CI, 1.20-1.47), and 1.48 (95% CI, 1.25-1.76), respectively. The multivariable hazard ratio comparing CCS IV with CCS I was 1.20 (95% CI, 1.09-1.33) for all-cause hospitalization, 1.25 (95% CI, 0.96-1.64) for acute coronary syndrome hospitalizations, 1.00 (95% CI, 0.80-1.26) for heart failure hospitalizations, 1.05 (95% CI, 0.88-1.25) for atrial fibrillation hospitalizations, 1.92 (95% CI, 1.40-2.64) for percutaneous coronary intervention, and 2.51 (95% CI, 1.99-3.16) for coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. Conclusions Natural language processing-extracted CCS classification was positively associated with all-cause mortality and healthcare utilization, demonstrating the prognostic importance of anginal symptom assessment and documentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.012811DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761668PMC
August 2019

A clinical risk prediction model to identify patients with hepatorenal syndrome at hospital admission.

Int J Clin Pract 2019 Nov 7;73(11):e13393. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) Veterans Administration Medical Center, Veteran's Health Administration, Nashville, Tennessee.

Background: Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a life-threatening complication of cirrhosis and early detection of evolving HRS may provide opportunities for early intervention. We developed a HRS risk model to assist early recognition of inpatient HRS.

Methods: We analysed a retrospective cohort of patients hospitalised from among 122 medical centres in the US Department of Veterans Affairs between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2013. We included cirrhotic patients who had Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes criteria based acute kidney injury on admission. We developed a logistic regression risk prediction model to detect HRS on admission using 10 variables. We calculated 95% confidence intervals on the model building dataset and, subsequently, calculated performance on a 1000 sample holdout test set. We report model performance with area under the curve (AUC) for discrimination and several calibration measures.

Results: The cohort included 19 368 patients comprising 32 047 inpatient admissions. The event rate for hospitalised HRS was 2810/31 047 (9.1%) and 79/1000 (7.9%) in the model building and validation datasets, respectively. The variable selection procedure designed a parsimonious model involving ten predictor variables. Final model performance in the validation dataset had an AUC of 0.87, Brier score of 0.05, slope of 1.10 and intercept of 0.04.

Conclusions: We developed a probabilistic risk model to diagnose HRS within 24 hours of hospital admission using routine clinical variables in the largest ever published HRS cohort. The performance was excellent and this model may help identify high-risk patients for HRS and promote early intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijcp.13393DOI Listing
November 2019

Timing of evidence-based psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder initiation among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the Veterans Health Administration.

Psychol Trauma 2020 Mar 25;12(3):260-271. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Mental Health Service.

Objective: Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE) were widely disseminated to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). However, few Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (Operation Enduring Freedom [OEF], Operation Iraqi Freedom [OIF], Operation New Dawn [OND]) diagnosed with PTSD have received CPT/PE and many initiate CPT/PE after substantial delay. Veterans who do not initiate CPT/PE or initiate CPT/PE after delay may have poorer treatment outcomes. This study aimed to identify predictors of CPT/PE initiation and timing.

Methods: Participants included OEF/OIF/OND veterans diagnosed with PTSD who received psychotherapy between 2001 and 2017 in the VHA ( = 265,566). Logistic regression analysis was utilized to predict initiating CPT/PE (vs. no CPT/PE). Multinomial logistic regression analysis was utilized to predict not initiating or initiating delayed CPT/PE versus "early CPT/PE" (< 1 year after first mental health visit). Analyzed predictors included demographic, military, and clinical complexity variables (e.g., comorbidities, reported military sexual trauma [MST] history).

Results: Seventy-Seven percent of veterans did not initiate CPT/PE, with 7.4% initiating early and 15.4% initiating delayed CPT/PE. Reported MST history (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45, 95% CI [1.39, 1.51]) and history of suicidal ideation/attempt (OR = 1.42, 95% CI [1.38, 1.46]) were strong predictors of CPT/PE initiation versus no CPT/PE. Comorbid pain (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.35, 95% CI [1.30, 1.42]) and depressive disorders (RRR = 1.37, 95% CI [1.32, 1.43]) were associated with increased likelihood of delayed versus early CPT/PE.

Conclusions: Most veterans in our study did not initiate CPT/PE. Generally, clinical complexity variables increased likelihood of initiating CPT/PE and initiating CPT/PE more than 1 year after first mental health visit. Additional research is needed to understand whether CPT/PE delay results from receipt of alternative intervention due to clinical complexity variables. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000496DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6980873PMC
March 2020

Genome-wide association study of peripheral artery disease in the Million Veteran Program.

Nat Med 2019 08 8;25(8):1274-1279. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a leading cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; however, the extent to which genetic factors increase risk for PAD is largely unknown. Using electronic health record data, we performed a genome-wide association study in the Million Veteran Program testing ~32 million DNA sequence variants with PAD (31,307 cases and 211,753 controls) across veterans of European, African and Hispanic ancestry. The results were replicated in an independent sample of 5,117 PAD cases and 389,291 controls from the UK Biobank. We identified 19 PAD loci, 18 of which have not been previously reported. Eleven of the 19 loci were associated with disease in three vascular beds (coronary, cerebral, peripheral), including LDLR, LPL and LPA, suggesting that therapeutic modulation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the lipoprotein lipase pathway or circulating lipoprotein(a) may be efficacious for multiple atherosclerotic disease phenotypes. Conversely, four of the variants appeared to be specific for PAD, including F5 p.R506Q, highlighting the pathogenic role of thrombosis in the peripheral vascular bed and providing genetic support for Factor Xa inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for PAD. Our results highlight mechanistic similarities and differences among coronary, cerebral and peripheral atherosclerosis and provide therapeutic insights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0492-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768096PMC
August 2019

Risperdal CONSTA Needle Detachment. Incidence Rates Before and After Kit Redesign: A Retrospective Study using Electronic Health Records and Natural Language Processing in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Neurol Ther 2019 Jun 7;8(1):95-108. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Department of Veterans Affairs, Salt Lake City Health Care System, VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure, Salt Lake City, 500 Foothill Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT, 84148, USA.

Introduction: Janssen received reports of needle detachments for Risperdal CONSTA and, in response, redesigned the kit.

Objective: The study objective was to estimate the rate of Risperdal CONSTA needle detachments prior to and after the introduction of a redesigned kit.

Methods: This retrospective study used record abstraction in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The 3 phases included: (1) a pilot study for methods evaluation in a sample of 6 hospitals with previously reported detachments; (2) a baseline study to ascertain the baseline detachment rate; and (3) a follow-up study to ascertain the rate for the redesigned kit. Administrative codes and natural language processing with clinical review were used to identify detachments.

Results: Pilot: we identified a subset of spontaneously reported detachments and several previously unreported events. In the baseline study (original device), from January through December 2013, 22 needle detachments were identified among 47,934 administrations of the drug in a census of administrations in the VA; an incidence of 0.0459%. In the follow-up study (redesigned device), from December 2015 through December 2016, there were 14 reported detachments in 41,819 injections, 0.0335%. This represents a reduction of 27% from the baseline.

Conclusion: This approach enabled us to identify needle detachments we would not have otherwise found ("solicited"). However, it likely resulted in incomplete outcome ascertainment. While this may have resulted in lower overall rates, it did not bias the comparison of the baseline and follow-up studies. The results showed that the redesigned Risperdal CONSTA kit reduced the incidence of needle detachment events in the VA.

Funding: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40120-019-0130-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534640PMC
June 2019

Ascertainment of Aspirin Exposure Using Structured and Unstructured Large-scale Electronic Health Record Data.

Med Care 2019 10;57(10):e60-e64

VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Background: Aspirin impacts risk for important outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding. However, ascertaining exposure to medications available both by prescription and over-the-counter such as aspirin for research and quality improvement purposes is a challenge.

Objectives: Develop and validate a strategy for ascertaining aspirin exposure, utilizing a combination of structured and unstructured data.

Research Design: This is a retrospective cohort study.

Subjects: In total, 1,869,439 Veterans who underwent usual care colonoscopy 1999-2014 within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Measures: Aspirin exposure and dose were obtained from an ascertainment strategy combining query of structured medication records available in electronic health record databases and unstructured data extracted from free-text progress notes. Prevalence of any aspirin exposure and dose-specific exposure were estimated. Positive predictive value and negative predictive value were used to assess strategy performance, using manual chart review as the reference standard.

Results: Our combined strategy for ascertaining aspirin exposure using structured and unstructured data reached a positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 99.2% and 97.5% for any exposure, and 92.6% and 98.3% for dose-specific exposure. Estimated prevalence of any aspirin exposure was 36.3% (95% confidence interval: 36.2%-36.4%) and dose-specific exposure was 35.4% (95% confidence interval: 35.3%-35.5%).

Conclusions: A readily accessible approach utilizing a combination of structured medication records and query of unstructured data can be used to ascertain aspirin exposure when manual chart review is impractical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MLR.0000000000001065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6703965PMC
October 2019

Factors associated with completing evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD among veterans in a national healthcare system.

Psychiatry Res 2019 04 11;274:112-128. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Mental Health Service, White River Junction VA Medical Center, and National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Executive Division, White River Junction, VT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH, USA.

Little is known about predictors of initiation and completion of evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with most data coming from small cohort studies and post-hoc analyses of clinical trials. We examined patient and treatment factors associated with initiation and completion of EBP for PTSD in a large longitudinal cohort. We conducted a national, retrospective cohort study of all Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who had a post-deployment PTSD diagnosis from 10/01-9/15 at a Veterans Health Administration facility and had at least one coded post-deployment psychotherapy visit. We examined utilization of PE and CPT (individual or group) during any 24-week period. We used ordered logistic, logistic, and Cox proportional hazards regressions to examine variables associated with EBP initiation, early termination, and completion, and time to completion. Over a 15-year period, of 265,566 veterans with PTSD, 22.8% initiated an EBP, and only 9.1% completed treatment. Completers did so about three years after their initial mental health visit. Factors positively associated with EBP completion included military sexual trauma, older age, race/ethnicity (i.e., African-American race for PE), combat, and multiple deployments. The VHA has become timelier in delivering EBP for PTSD, and several subgroups are more likely to complete EBP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.02.027DOI Listing
April 2019

Documentation of ENDS Use in the Veterans Affairs Electronic Health Record (2008-2014).

Am J Prev Med 2019 03;56(3):474-475

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2018.10.019DOI Listing
March 2019

Detecting Adverse Drug Events with Rapidly Trained Classification Models.

Drug Saf 2019 01;42(1):147-156

VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Introduction: Identifying occurrences of medication side effects and adverse drug events (ADEs) is an important and challenging task because they are frequently only mentioned in clinical narrative and are not formally reported.

Methods: We developed a natural language processing (NLP) system that aims to identify mentions of symptoms and drugs in clinical notes and label the relationship between the mentions as indications or ADEs. The system leverages an existing word embeddings model with induced word clusters for dimensionality reduction. It employs a conditional random field (CRF) model for named entity recognition (NER) and a random forest model for relation extraction (RE).

Results: Final performance of each model was evaluated separately and then combined on a manually annotated evaluation set. The micro-averaged F1 score was 80.9% for NER, 88.1% for RE, and 61.2% for the integrated systems. Outputs from our systems were submitted to the NLP Challenges for Detecting Medication and Adverse Drug Events from Electronic Health Records (MADE 1.0) competition (Yu et al. in http://bio-nlp.org/index.php/projects/39-nlp-challenges , 2018). System performance was evaluated in three tasks (NER, RE, and complete system) with multiple teams submitting output from their systems for each task. Our RE system placed first in Task 2 of the challenge and our integrated system achieved third place in Task 3.

Conclusion: Adding to the growing number of publications that utilize NLP to detect occurrences of ADEs, our study illustrates the benefits of employing innovative feature engineering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40264-018-0763-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373386PMC
January 2019

Epidemiology of nontuberculous mycobacterial infections in the U.S. Veterans Health Administration.

PLoS One 2018 13;13(6):e0197976. Epub 2018 Jun 13.

Formerly with the National Center for Occupational Health and Infection Control, Patient Care Services (Public Health), Veterans Health Administration, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.

Objective: We identified patients with non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) disease in the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA), examined the distribution of diseases by NTM species, and explored the association between NTM disease and the frequency of clinic visits and mortality.

Methods: We combined mycobacterial isolate (from natural language processing) with ICD-9-CM diagnoses from VHA data between 2008 and 2012 and then applied modified ATS/IDSA guidelines for NTM diagnosis. We performed validation against a reference standard of chart review. Incidence rates were calculated. Two nested case-control studies (matched by age and location) were used to measure the association between NTM disease and each of 1) the frequency of outpatient clinic visits and 2) mortality, both adjusted by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), other structural lung diseases, and immunomodulatory factors.

Results: NTM cases were identified with a sensitivity of 94%, a specificity of >99%. The incidence of NTM was 12.6/100k patient-years. COPD was present in 68% of pulmonary NTM. NTM incidence was highest in the southeastern US. Extra-pulmonary NTM rates increased during the study period. The incidence rate ratio of clinic visits in the first year after diagnosis was 1.3 [95%CI 1.34-1.35]. NTM patients had a hazard ratio of mortality of 1.4 [95%CI 1.1-1.9] in the 6 months after NTM identification compared to controls and 1.99 [95%CI 1.8-2.3] thereafter.

Conclusions: In VHA, pulmonary NTM disease is commonly associated with COPD, with the highest rates in the southeastern US. After adjustment, NTM patients had more clinic visits and greater mortality compared to matched patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0197976PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5999224PMC
December 2018

From Sour Grapes to Low-Hanging Fruit: A Case Study Demonstrating a Practical Strategy for Natural Language Processing Portability.

AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc 2018 18;2017:104-112. Epub 2018 May 18.

Center for Health Informatics and Bioinformatics, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) holds potential for patient care and clinical research, but a gap exists between promise and reality. While some studies have demonstrated portability of NLP systems across multiple sites, challenges remain. Strategies to mitigate these challenges can strive for complex NLP problems using advanced methods (hard-to-reach fruit), or focus on simple NLP problems using practical methods (low-hanging fruit). This paper investigates a practical strategy for NLP portability using extraction of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) as a use case. We used a tool developed at the Department of Veterans Affair (VA) to extract the LVEF values from free-text echocardiograms in the MIMIC-III database. The approach showed an accuracy of 98.4%, sensitivity of 99.4%, a positive predictive value of 98.7%, and F-score of 99.0%. This experience, in which a simple NLP solution proved highly portable with excellent performance, illustrates the point that simple NLP applications may be easier to disseminate and adapt, and in the short term may prove more useful, than complex applications.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5961788PMC
May 2018

A Framework for Leveraging "Big Data" to Advance Epidemiology and Improve Quality: Design of the VA Colonoscopy Collaborative.

EGEMS (Wash DC) 2018 Apr 13;6(1). Epub 2018 Apr 13.

San Francisco VA Medical Center, US.

Objective: To describe a framework for leveraging big data for research and quality improvement purposes and demonstrate implementation of the framework for design of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Colonoscopy Collaborative.

Methods: We propose that research utilizing large-scale electronic health records (EHRs) can be approached in a 4 step framework: 1) Identify data sources required to answer research question; 2) Determine whether variables are available as structured or free-text data; 3) Utilize a rigorous approach to refine variables and assess data quality; 4) Create the analytic dataset and perform analyses. We describe implementation of the framework as part of the VA Colonoscopy Collaborative, which aims to leverage big data to 1) prospectively measure and report colonoscopy quality and 2) develop and validate a risk prediction model for colorectal cancer (CRC) and high-risk polyps.

Results: Examples of implementation of the 4 step framework are provided. To date, we have identified 2,337,171 Veterans who have undergone colonoscopy between 1999 and 2014. Median age was 62 years, and 4.6 percent (n = 106,860) were female. We estimated that 2.6 percent (n = 60,517) had CRC diagnosed at baseline. An additional 1 percent (n = 24,483) had a new ICD-9 code-based diagnosis of CRC on follow up.

Conclusion: We hope our framework may contribute to the dialogue on best practices to ensure high quality epidemiologic and quality improvement work. As a result of implementation of the framework, the VA Colonoscopy Collaborative holds great promise for 1) quantifying and providing novel understandings of colonoscopy outcomes, and 2) building a robust approach for nationwide VA colonoscopy quality reporting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/egems.198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5983017PMC
April 2018

Characterization and survival of patients with metastatic basal cell carcinoma in the Department of Veterans Affairs: a retrospective electronic health record review.

Arch Dermatol Res 2018 Aug 8;310(6):505-513. Epub 2018 May 8.

VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, 500 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, UT, 84148, USA.

Available descriptive statistics for patients with metastatic basal cell carcinoma (mBCC) are limited. To describe disease characteristics, treatment patterns, survival outcomes, and prognostic factors of patients with mBCC, we conducted a retrospective review of electronic health records in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The primary outcome was survival. Data were also collected on demographics, comorbidities, medications, and procedures. Median (IQR) age of patients with mBCC (n = 475) was 72.0 (17.0) years; 97.9% of patients were male. Almost two-thirds of patients received no initial therapy for mBCC. Median overall survival was 40.5 months [95% CI (confidence interval) 4.8-140.0], and was shorter in patients with distant metastases (17.1 months; 95% CI 2.8-58.0) than in those with regional metastases (59.4 months; 95% CI 17.6-140.0). Because the VA mBCC population is largely male and elderly, the generalizability of these results in other populations is limited and must be interpreted cautiously. Data from this large cohort add valuable information on a rare and poorly researched disease and refine previously wide estimates of overall survival for mBCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00403-018-1834-8DOI Listing
August 2018

Measuring Use of Evidence Based Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Large National Healthcare System.

Adm Policy Ment Health 2018 07;45(4):519-529

White River Junction VA Medical Center, White River Junction, VT, USA.

To derive a method of identifying use of evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we used clinical note text from national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical records. Using natural language processing, we developed machine-learning algorithms to classify note text on a large scale in an observational study of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD and one post-deployment psychotherapy visit by 8/5/15 (N = 255,968). PTSD visits were linked to 8.1 million psychotherapy notes. Annotators labeled 3467 randomly-selected psychotherapy notes (kappa = 0.88) to indicate receipt of EBP. We met our performance targets of overall classification accuracy (0.92); 20.2% of veterans received ≥ one session of EBP over the study period. Our method can assist with identifying EBP use and studying EBP-associated outcomes in routine clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10488-018-0850-5DOI Listing
July 2018

Increased Echocardiographic Pulmonary Pressure in HIV-infected and -uninfected Individuals in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2018 04;197(7):923-932

1 Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Rationale: The epidemiology and prognostic impact of increased pulmonary pressure among HIV-infected individuals in the antiretroviral therapy era is not well described.

Objectives: To examine the prevalence, clinical features, and outcomes of increased echocardiographic pulmonary pressure in HIV-infected and -uninfected individuals.

Methods: This study evaluated 8,296 veterans referred for echocardiography with reported pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) estimates from the Veterans Aging Cohort study, an observational cohort of HIV-infected and -uninfected veterans matched by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and clinical site. The primary outcome was adjusted mortality by HIV status.

Measurements And Main Results: PASP was reported in 2,831 HIV-infected and 5,465 HIV-uninfected veterans (follow-up [mean ± SD], 3.8 ± 2.6 yr). As compared with uninfected veterans, HIV-infected veterans with HIV viral load greater than 500 copies/ml (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.54) and those with CD4 cell count less than 200 cells/μl (odds ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.02-1.60) had a higher prevalence of PASP greater than or equal to 40 mm Hg. As compared with uninfected veterans with a PASP less than 40 mm Hg, HIV-infected veterans with a PASP greater than or equal to 40 mm Hg had an increased risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.57-2.01). This risk persisted even among participants without prevalent comorbidities (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.61; 95% CI, 2.17-6.01). The adjusted risk of mortality in HIV-infected veterans was higher at all PASP values than in uninfected veterans, including at values currently considered to be normal.

Conclusions: HIV-infected people with high HIV viral loads or low CD4 cell counts have a higher prevalence of increased PASP than uninfected people. Mortality risk in HIV-infected veterans increases at lower values of PASP than previously recognized and is present even among those without prevalent comorbidities. These findings may inform clinical decision-making regarding screening and surveillance of pulmonary hypertension in HIV-infected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201708-1555OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020408PMC
April 2018
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