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Publication Title

Preventive Veterinary Medicine


Background: Temporal phenotyping of patient journeys, which capture the common sequence patterns of interventions in the treatment of a specific condition, is useful to support understanding of antimicrobial usage in veterinary patients. Identifying and describing these phenotypes can inform antimicrobial stewardship programs designed to fight antimicrobial resistance, a major health crisis affecting both humans and animals, in which veterinarians have an important role to play. Objective: This research proposes a framework for extracting temporal phenotypes of patient journeys from clinical practice data through the application of natural language processing (NLP) and unsupervised machine learning (ML) techniques, using cat bite abscesses as a model condition. By constructing temporal phenotypes from key events, the relationship between antimicrobial administration and surgical interventions can be described, and similar treatment patterns can be grouped together to describe outcomes associated with specific antimicrobial selection. Methods: Cases identified as having a cat bite abscess as a diagnosis were extracted from VetCompass Australia, a database of veterinary clinical records. A classifier was trained and used to label the most clinically relevant event features in each record as chosen by a group of veterinarians. The labeled records were processed into coded character strings, where each letter represents a summary of specific types of treatments performed at a given visit. The sequences of letters representing the cases were clustered based on weighted Levenshtein edit distances with KMeans+ + to identify the main variations of the patient treatment journeys, including the antimicrobials used and their duration of administration. Results: A total of 13,744 records that met the selection criteria was extracted and grouped into 8436 cases. There were 9 clinically distinct event sequence patterns (temporal phenotypes) of patient journeys identified, representing the main sequences in which surgery and antimicrobial interventions are performed. Patients receiving amoxicillin and surgery had the shortest duration of antimicrobial administration (median of 3.4 days) and patients receiving cefovecin with no surgical intervention had the longest antimicrobial treatment duration (median of 27 days). Conclusion: Our study demonstrates methods to extract and provide an overview of temporal phenotypes of patient journeys, which can be applied to text-based clinical records for multiple species or clinical conditions. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to derive real-world evidence of treatment impacts using cat bite abscesses as a model condition to describe patterns of antimicrobial therapy prescriptions and their outcomes.



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Antimicrobial Resistance, Antimicrobial stewardship, Artificial intelligence, Natural Language Processing


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Open Access

License: CC BY 4.0

Uploaded: April 03, 2024