Digital gold mining in hospital data: The DIGMINE project
The DIGMINE project aims to improve diagnostics by digital gold mining in historical neurophysiological data.
An accurate diagnosis is vital to provide optimal patient care. To diagnose neurological disorders, patients are examined with neurophysiological methods. Evidently, neurophysiological methods must be of high quality with standardized protocols and valid reference values.
Despite a national collaborative initiative in the 1990s to standardize neurophysiological methods across Norway, current practice may still be influenced by tradition and personal experience, which may maintain internal and regional differences in neurophysiological practice. In addition, current reference values are often based on subjects, equipment and procedures that are not representative for the laboratory, as well as poor stratification for sex, age and height. This may result in erroneous interpretation of the neurophysiological methods.
Norwegian hospitals have digital databases of neurophysiological data dating back to approximately the year 2000, which has not yet been utilized. In this project, we will use this treasure trove of valuable data to improve neurophysiological methods.
The project is divided into two projects; a quality project and a research project.
The quality project is funded by Norwegian Medical Association. It has allowed us to establish data infrastructure and collaborative efforts, which have resulted in a database with over 200.000 patients with neurophysiological data from hospitals across Norway, as well as creating systems for quality assurance and standardization.
The research project will use the database from the quality project to optimize and implement novel algorithms for establishing reference values, as well as novel methods for benchmarking and biomarker quality assurance.
We have established international collaboration partners from the USA and the Netherlands as well as an industrial partner (Cadwell Industries). The results of the project will therefore also be made available for patients world-wide.
Based on historical records from patients at Oslo University Hospital, we have developed normal values with the E-norms method for the most commonly investigated nerves with nerve conduction studies.
View/download the table here (PDF format).