The paper “Using Markov chains and temporal alignment to identify clinical patterns in Dementia”, co-authored by LASIGE’s integrated researcher Andreia Sofia Teixeira, was published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics (SCIMAGO Q1).
In the healthcare sector, resorting to big data and advanced analytics is a great advantage when dealing with complex groups of patients in terms of comorbidities, representing a significant step towards personalized targeting. In this work, we focus on understanding key features and clinical pathways of patients with multimorbidity suffering from Dementia. This disease can result from many heterogeneous factors, potentially becoming more prevalent as the population ages. We present a set of methods that allow us to identify medical appointment patterns within a cohort of 1924 patients followed from January 2007 to August 2021 in Hospital da Luz (Lisbon), and to stratify patients into subgroups that exhibit similar patterns of interaction. With Markov Chains, we are able to identify the most prevailing medical appointments attended by Dementia patients, as well as recurring transitions between these. To perform patient stratification, we applied AliClu, a temporal sequence alignment algorithm for clustering longitudinal clinical data, which allowed us to successfully identify patient subgroups with similar medical appointment activity. A feature analysis per cluster obtained allows the identification of distinct patterns and characteristics. This pipeline provides a tool to identify prevailing clinical pathways of medical appointments within the dataset, as well as the most common transitions between medical specialities within Dementia patients. This methodology, alongside demographic and clinical data, has the potential to provide early signalling of the most likely clinical pathways and serve as a support tool for health providers in deciding the best course of treatment, considering a patient as a whole.
The paper is avalilable: here