A Relational-Sequential dataset (or RS-dataset for short) contains records comprised of a patients values in demographic attributes and their sequence of diagnosis codes. The task of clustering an RS-dataset is helpful for analyses ranging from pattern mining to classification. However, existing methods are not appropriate to perform this task. Thus, we initiate a study of how an RS-dataset can be clustered effectively and efficiently. We formalize the task of clustering an RS-dataset as an optimization problem. At the heart of the problem is a distance measure we design to quantify the pairwise similarity between records of an RS-dataset. Our measure uses a tree structure that encodes hierarchical relationships between records, based on their demographics, as well as an edit-distance-like measure that captures both the sequentiality and the semantic similarity of diagnosis codes. We also develop an algorithm which first identifies k representative records (centers), for a given k, and then constructs clusters, each containing one center and the records that are closer to the center compared to other centers. Experiments using two Electronic Health Record datasets demonstrate that our algorithm constructs compact and well-separated clusters, which preserve meaningful relationships between demographics and sequences of diagnosis codes, while being efficient and scalable.

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IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

Zhong, H., Loukides, G., & Pissis, S. (2021). Clustering demographics and sequences of diagnosis codes. IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, 26(5), 2351–2359. doi:10.1109/JBHI.2021.3129461