J Am Med Inform Assoc
Research and applications
Vaccine adverse event text mining system for extracting features from vaccine safety reports
Taxiarchis Botsis1,2, Thomas Buttolph1, Michael D Nguyen1, Scott Winiecki1, Emily Jane Woo1, Robert Ball1
+ Author Affiliations
1Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Rockville, Maryland, USA
2Department of Computer Science, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
Correspondence to Dr Taxiarchis Botsis, Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, CBER, FDA, Woodmont Office Complex 1, Room 306N, 1401 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, USA;
Contributors TB developed the VaeTM tool, analyzed the data, drafted and revised the paper; ThB acted as the consensus annotator, collected the evaluation data and revised the paper; SW and EJW acted as the primary annotators and revised the paper; MN revised the draft paper; RB revised the draft paper, created the mapping table for the BC criteria and supervised the study. All authors participated in the design of the evaluation plan, the monitoring of the process and the VaeTM updates.
Received 3 February 2012
Accepted 28 July 2012
Published Online First 1 September 2012
Objective To develop and evaluate a text mining system for extracting key clinical features from vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) narratives to aid in the automated review of adverse event reports.
Design Based upon clinical significance to VAERS reviewing physicians, we defined the primary (diagnosis and cause of death) and secondary features (eg, symptoms) for extraction. We built a novel vaccine adverse event text mining (VaeTM) system based on a semantic text mining strategy. The performance of VaeTM was evaluated using a total of 300 VAERS reports in three sequential evaluations of 100 reports each. Moreover, we evaluated the VaeTM contribution to case classification; an information retrieval-based approach was used for the identification of anaphylaxis cases in a set of reports and was compared with two other methods: a dedicated text classifier and an online tool.
Measurements The performance metrics of VaeTM were text mining metrics: recall, precision and F-measure. We also conducted a qualitative difference analysis and calculated sensitivity and specificity for classification of anaphylaxis cases based on the above three approaches.
Results VaeTM performed best in extracting diagnosis, second level diagnosis, drug, vaccine, and lot number features (lenient F-measure in the third evaluation: 0.897, 0.817, 0.858, 0.874, and 0.914, respectively). In terms of case classification, high sensitivity was achieved (83.1%); this was equal and better compared to the text classifier (83.1%) and the online tool (40.7%), respectively.
Conclusion Our VaeTM implementation of a semantic text mining strategy shows promise in providing accurate and efficient extraction of key features from VAERS narratives.