Automating the identification of patient safety incident reports using multi-label classification

Ying Wang, Enrico Coiera, William Runciman, Farah Magrabi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Automated identification provides an efficient way to categorize patient safety incidents. Previous studies have focused on identifying single incident types relating to a specific patient safety problem, e.g., clinical handover. In reality, there are multiple types of incidents reflecting the breadth of patient safety problems and a single report may describe multiple problems, i.e., it can be assigned multiple type labels. This study evaluated the abilty of multi-label classification methods to identify multiple incident types in single reports. Three multi-label methods were evaluated: binary relevance, classifier chains and ensemble of classifier chains. We found that an ensemble of classifier chains was the most effective method using binary Support Vector Machines with radial basis function kernel and bag-of-words feature extraction, performing equally well on balanced and stratified datasets, (F-score: 73.7% vs. 74.7%). Classifiers were able to identify six common incident types: falls, medications, pressure injury, aggression, documentation problems and others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2017
Subtitle of host publicationPrecision Healthcare through Informatics - Proceedings of the 16th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics
EditorsZhao Dongsheng, Adi V. Gundlapalli, Jaulent Marie-Christine
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781614998297
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 2017
Event16th World Congress of Medical and Health Informatics: Precision Healthcare through Informatics, MedInfo 2017 - Hangzhou, China
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Other16th World Congress of Medical and Health Informatics: Precision Healthcare through Informatics, MedInfo 2017


  • Machine learning
  • Patient safety
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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