Epidemiological Characterization of a Directed and Weighted Disease Network Using Data from a Cohort of One Million Patients: Network Analysis

Kyungmin Ko, Chae Won Lee, Sangmin Nam, Song Vogue Ahn, Jung Ho Bae, Chi Yong Ban, Jongman Yoo, Jungmin Park, Hyun Wook Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: In the past 20 years, various methods have been introduced to construct disease networks. However, established disease networks have not been clinically useful to date because of differences among demographic factors, as well as the temporal order and intensity among disease-disease associations. Objective: This study sought to investigate the overall patterns of the associations among diseases; network properties, such as clustering, degree, and strength; and the relationship between the structure of disease networks and demographic factors. Methods: We used National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (NHIS-NSC) data from the Republic of Korea, which included the time series insurance information of 1 million out of 50 million Korean (approximately 2%) patients obtained between 2002 and 2013. After setting the observation and outcome periods, we selected only 520 common Korean Classification of Disease, sixth revision codes that were the most prevalent diagnoses, making up approximately 80% of the cases, for statistical validity. Using these data, we constructed a directional and weighted temporal network that considered both demographic factors and network properties. Results: Our disease network contained 294 nodes and 3085 edges, a relative risk value of more than 4, and a false discovery rate-adjusted P value of <.001. Interestingly, our network presented four large clusters. Analysis of the network topology revealed a stronger correlation between in-strength and out-strength than between in-degree and out-degree. Further, the mean age of each disease population was related to the position along the regression line of the out/in-strength plot. Conversely, clustering analysis suggested that our network boasted four large clusters with different sex, age, and disease categories. Conclusions: We constructed a directional and weighted disease network visualizing demographic factors. Our proposed disease network model is expected to be a valuable tool for use by early clinical researchers seeking to explore the relationships among diseases in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15196
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Journal of Medical Internet Research. All rights reserved.


  • Cohort studies
  • Data science
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Medical informatics
  • Statistical data interpretation


Dive into the research topics of 'Epidemiological Characterization of a Directed and Weighted Disease Network Using Data from a Cohort of One Million Patients: Network Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this