Visual analytics for pattern discovery in home care: Clinical relevance for quality improvement

Kavita Radhakrishnan, Karen A. Monsen, Sung Heui Bae, Wenhui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Visualization can reduce the cognitive load of information, allowing users to easily interpret and assess large amounts of data. The purpose of our study was to examine home health data using visual analysis techniques to discover clinically salient associations between patient characteristics with problem-oriented health outcomes of older adult home health patients during the home health service period. Methods: Knowledge, Behavior and Status ratings at discharge as well as change from admission to discharge that was coded using the Omaha System was collected from a dataset on 988 deidentified patient data from 15 home health agencies. SPSS Visualization Designer v1. 0 was used to visually analyze patterns between independent and outcome variables using heat maps and histograms. Visualizations suggesting clinical salience were tested for significance using correlation analysis. Results: The mean age of the patients was 80 years, with the majority female (66%). Of the 150 visualizations, 69 potentially meaningful patterns were statistically evaluated through bivariate associations, revealing 21 significant associations. Further, 14 associations between episode length and Charlson co-morbidity index mainly with urinary related diagnoses and problems remained significant after adjustment analyses. Through visual analysis, the adverse association of the longer home health episode length and higher Charlson co-morbidity index with behavior or status outcomes for patients with impaired urinary function was revealed. Conclusions: We have demonstrated the use of visual analysis to discover novel patterns that described high-needs subgroups among the older home health patient population. The effective presentation of these data patterns can allow clinicians to identify areas of patient improvement, and time periods that are most effective for implementing home health interventions to improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-730
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The University of Texas Austin New Faculty Start-up Funds for Dr. Radhakrishnan.

Publisher Copyright:
© Schattauer 2016.


  • Home health nursing
  • Omaha system
  • Patient outcomes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Visualization


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