JMIR Publications

JMIR Medical Informatics

Clinical informatics, decision support for health professionals, electronic health records, and ehealth infrastructures.


Journal Description

JMIR Medical Informatics (JMI, ISSN 2291-9694) is a top-rated, tier A journal which focuses on clinical informatics, big data in health and health care, decision support for health professionals, electronic health records, ehealth infrastructures and implementation. It has a focus on applied, translational research, with a broad readership including clinicians, CIOs, engineers, industry and health informatics professionals.

Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175), JMIR Med Inform has a slightly different scope (emphasizing more on applications for clinicians and health professionals rather than consumers/citizens, which is the focus of JMIR), publishes even faster, and also allows papers which are more technical or more formative than what would be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

JMIR Medical Informatics journal features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs (ready for deposit in PubMed Central/PubMed). The site is optimized for mobile and iPad use.

JMIR Medical Informatics adheres to the same quality standards as JMIR and all articles published here are also cross-listed in the Table of Contents of JMIR, the worlds' leading medical journal in health sciences / health services research and health informatics (


Recent Articles:

  • iCMP program (montage). Source:; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Optimizing the Use of Electronic Health Records to Identify High-Risk Psychosocial Determinants of Health


    Background: Care coordination programs have traditionally focused on medically complex patients, identifying patients that qualify by analyzing formatted clinical data and claims data. However, not all clinically relevant data reside in claims and formatted data. Recently, there has been increasing interest in including patients with complex psychosocial determinants of health in care coordination programs. Psychosocial risk factors, including social determinants of health, mental health disorders, and substance abuse disorders, are less amenable to rapid and systematic data analyses, as these data are often not collected or stored as formatted data, and due to US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations are often not available as claims data. Objective: The objective of our study was to develop a systematic approach using word recognition software to identifying psychosocial risk factors within any part of a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). Methods: We used QPID (Queriable Patient Inference Dossier), an ontology-driven word recognition software, to scan adult patients’ EHRs to identify terms predicting a high-risk patient suitable to be followed in a care coordination program in Massachusetts, USA. Search terms identified high-risk conditions in patients known to be enrolled in a care coordination program, and were then tested against control patients. We calculated precision, recall, and balanced F-measure for the search terms. Results: We identified 22 EHR-available search terms to define psychosocial high-risk status; the presence of 9 or more of these terms predicted that a patient would meet inclusion criteria for a care coordination program. Precision was .80, recall .98, and balanced F-measure .88 for the identified terms. For adult patients insured by Medicaid and enrolled in the program, a mean of 14 terms (interquartile range [IQR] 11-18) were present as identified by the search tool, ranging from 2 to 22 terms. For patients enrolled in the program but not insured by Medicaid, a mean of 6 terms (IQR 3-8) were present as identified by the search tool, ranging from 1 to 21. Conclusions: Selected informatics tools such as word recognition software can be leveraged to improve health care delivery, such as an EHR-based protocol that identifies psychosocially complex patients eligible for enrollment in a care coordination program.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Wynn Pointaux; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Hierarchical Medical System Based on Big Data and Mobile Internet: A New Strategic Choice in Health Care


    China is setting up a hierarchical medical system to solve the problems of biased resource allocation and high patient flows to large hospitals. The development of big data and mobile Internet technology provides a new perspective for the establishment of hierarchical medical system. This viewpoint discusses the challenges with the hierarchical medical system in China and how big data and mobile Internet can be used to mitigate these challenges.

  • Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Clinical Note Creation, Binning, and Artificial Intelligence


    The creation of medical notes in software applications poses an intrinsic problem in workflow as the technology inherently intervenes in the processes of collecting and assembling information, as well as the production of a data-driven note that meets both individual and healthcare system requirements. In addition, the note writing applications in currently available electronic health records (EHRs) do not function to support decision making to any substantial degree. We suggest that artificial intelligence (AI) could be utilized to facilitate the workflows of the data collection and assembly processes, as well as to support the development of personalized, yet data-driven assessments and plans.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Gerd Altmann; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    What Patients Can Tell Us: Topic Analysis for Social Media on Breast Cancer


    Background: Social media dedicated to health are increasingly used by patients and health professionals. They are rich textual resources with content generated through free exchange between patients. We are proposing a method to tackle the problem of retrieving clinically relevant information from such social media in order to analyze the quality of life of patients with breast cancer. Objective: Our aim was to detect the different topics discussed by patients on social media and to relate them to functional and symptomatic dimensions assessed in the internationally standardized self-administered questionnaires used in cancer clinical trials (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC] Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 [QLQ-C30] and breast cancer module [QLQ-BR23]). Methods: First, we applied a classic text mining technique, latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), to detect the different topics discussed on social media dealing with breast cancer. We applied the LDA model to 2 datasets composed of messages extracted from public Facebook groups and from a public health forum (, a French breast cancer forum) with relevant preprocessing. Second, we applied a customized Jaccard coefficient to automatically compute similarity distance between the topics detected with LDA and the questions in the self-administered questionnaires used to study quality of life. Results: Among the 23 topics present in the self-administered questionnaires, 22 matched with the topics discussed by patients on social media. Interestingly, these topics corresponded to 95% (22/23) of the forum and 86% (20/23) of the Facebook group topics. These figures underline that topics related to quality of life are an important concern for patients. However, 5 social media topics had no corresponding topic in the questionnaires, which do not cover all of the patients’ concerns. Of these 5 topics, 2 could potentially be used in the questionnaires, and these 2 topics corresponded to a total of 3.10% (523/16,868) of topics in the corpus and 4.30% (3014/70,092) of the Facebook corpus. Conclusions: We found a good correspondence between detected topics on social media and topics covered by the self-administered questionnaires, which substantiates the sound construction of such questionnaires. We detected new emerging topics from social media that can be used to complete current self-administered questionnaires. Moreover, we confirmed that social media mining is an important source of information for complementary analysis of quality of life.

  • Patient advocate recording patient complaint. Source:; Copyright: Ambro; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Triaging Patient Complaints: Monte Carlo Cross-Validation of Six Machine Learning Classifiers


    Background: Unsolicited patient complaints can be a useful service recovery tool for health care organizations. Some patient complaints contain information that may necessitate further action on the part of the health care organization and/or the health care professional. Current approaches depend on the manual processing of patient complaints, which can be costly, slow, and challenging in terms of scalability. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate automatic patient triage, which can potentially improve response time and provide much-needed scale, thereby enhancing opportunities to encourage physicians to self-regulate. Methods: We implemented a comparison of several well-known machine learning classifiers to detect whether a complaint was associated with a physician or his/her medical practice. We compared these classifiers using a real-life dataset containing 14,335 patient complaints associated with 768 physicians that was extracted from patient complaints collected by the Patient Advocacy Reporting System developed at Vanderbilt University and associated institutions. We conducted a 10-splits Monte Carlo cross-validation to validate our results. Results: We achieved an accuracy of 82% and F-score of 81% in correctly classifying patient complaints with sensitivity and specificity of 0.76 and 0.87, respectively. Conclusions: We demonstrate that natural language processing methods based on modeling patient complaint text can be effective in identifying those patient complaints requiring physician action.

  • Source:; Copyright: Anusorn P nachol; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Estimating One-Year Risk of Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: Retrospective Development and Validation Study Using Electronic Medical Record Data From the...


    Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health concern in the United States with high prevalence, growing incidence, and serious adverse outcomes. Objective: We aimed to develop and validate a model to identify patients at risk of receiving a new diagnosis of CKD (incident CKD) during the next 1 year in a general population. Methods: The study population consisted of patients who had visited any care facility in the Maine Health Information Exchange network any time between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015, and had no history of CKD diagnosis. Two retrospective cohorts of electronic medical records (EMRs) were constructed for model derivation (N=1,310,363) and validation (N=1,430,772). The model was derived using a gradient tree-based boost algorithm to assign a score to each individual that measured the probability of receiving a new diagnosis of CKD from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014, based on the preceding 1-year clinical profile. A feature selection process was conducted to reduce the dimension of the data from 14,680 EMR features to 146 as predictors in the final model. Relative risk was calculated by the model to gauge the risk ratio of the individual to population mean of receiving a CKD diagnosis in next 1 year. The model was tested on the validation cohort to predict risk of CKD diagnosis in the period from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015, using the preceding 1-year clinical profile. Results: The final model had a c-statistic of 0.871 in the validation cohort. It stratified patients into low-risk (score 0-0.005), intermediate-risk (score 0.005-0.05), and high-risk (score ≥ 0.05) levels. The incidence of CKD in the high-risk patient group was 7.94%, 13.7 times higher than the incidence in the overall cohort (0.58%). Survival analysis showed that patients in the 3 risk categories had significantly different CKD outcomes as a function of time (P<.001), indicating an effective classification of patients by the model. Conclusions: We developed and validated a model that is able to identify patients at high risk of having CKD in the next 1 year by statistically learning from the EMR-based clinical history in the preceding 1 year. Identification of these patients indicates care opportunities such as monitoring and adopting intervention plans that may benefit the quality of care and outcomes in the long term.

  • Source:; Copyright: Startup Stock Photos; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    DynAMo: A Modular Platform for Monitoring Process, Outcome, and Algorithm-Based Treatment Planning in Psychotherapy


    Background: In recent years, the assessment of mental disorders has become more and more personalized. Modern advancements such as Internet-enabled mobile phones and increased computing capacity make it possible to tap sources of information that have long been unavailable to mental health practitioners. Objective: Software packages that combine algorithm-based treatment planning, process monitoring, and outcome monitoring are scarce. The objective of this study was to assess whether the DynAMo Web application can fill this gap by providing a software solution that can be used by both researchers to conduct state-of-the-art psychotherapy process research and clinicians to plan treatments and monitor psychotherapeutic processes. Methods: In this paper, we report on the current state of a Web application that can be used for assessing the temporal structure of mental disorders using information on their temporal and synchronous associations. A treatment planning algorithm automatically interprets the data and delivers priority scores of symptoms to practitioners. The application is also capable of monitoring psychotherapeutic processes during therapy and of monitoring treatment outcomes. This application was developed using the R programming language (R Core Team, Vienna) and the Shiny Web application framework (RStudio, Inc, Boston). It is made entirely from open-source software packages and thus is easily extensible. Results: The capabilities of the proposed application are demonstrated. Case illustrations are provided to exemplify its usefulness in clinical practice. Conclusions: With the broad availability of Internet-enabled mobile phones and similar devices, collecting data on psychopathology and psychotherapeutic processes has become easier than ever. The proposed application is a valuable tool for capturing, processing, and visualizing these data. The combination of dynamic assessment and process- and outcome monitoring has the potential to improve the efficacy and effectiveness of psychotherapy.

  • Semantic web in healthcare. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Issues Associated With the Use of Semantic Web Technology in Knowledge Acquisition for Clinical Decision Support Systems: Systematic Review of the Literature


    Background: Knowledge-based clinical decision support system (KB-CDSS) can be used to help practitioners make diagnostic decisions. KB-CDSS may use clinical knowledge obtained from a wide variety of sources to make decisions. However, knowledge acquisition is one of the well-known bottlenecks in KB-CDSSs, partly because of the enormous growth in health-related knowledge available and the difficulty in assessing the quality of this knowledge as well as identifying the “best” knowledge to use. This bottleneck not only means that lower-quality knowledge is being used, but also that KB-CDSSs are difficult to develop for areas where expert knowledge may be limited or unavailable. Recent methods have been developed by utilizing Semantic Web (SW) technologies in order to automatically discover relevant knowledge from knowledge sources. Objective: The two main objectives of this study were to (1) identify and categorize knowledge acquisition issues that have been addressed through using SW technologies and (2) highlight the role of SW for acquiring knowledge used in the KB-CDSS. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the recent work related to knowledge acquisition MeM for clinical decision support systems published in scientific journals. In this regard, we used the keyword search technique to extract relevant papers. Results: The retrieved papers were categorized based on two main issues: (1) format and data heterogeneity and (2) lack of semantic analysis. Most existing approaches will be discussed under these categories. A total of 27 papers were reviewed in this study. Conclusions: The potential for using SW technology in KB-CDSS has only been considered to a minor extent so far despite its promise. This review identifies some questions and issues regarding use of SW technology for extracting relevant knowledge for a KB-CDSS.

  • Source: Pexels; Copyright: Kaboompics // Karolina; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    The Rules of Engagement: Perspectives on Secure Messaging From Experienced Ambulatory Patient Portal Users


    Background: Patient portals have shown promise in engaging individuals in self-management of chronic conditions by allowing patients to input and track health information and exchange secure electronic messages with their providers. Past studies have identified patient barriers to portal use including usability issues, low health literacy, and concerns about loss of personal contact as well as provider concerns such as increased time spent responding to messages. However, to date, studies of both patient and provider perspectives on portal use have focused on the pre-implementation or initial implementation phases and do not consider how these issues may change as patients and providers gain greater experience with portals. Objective: Our study examined the following research question: Within primary care offices with high rates of patient-portal use, what do experienced physician and patient users of the ambulatory portal perceive as the benefits and challenges of portal use in general and secure messaging in particular? Methods: This qualitative study involved 42 interviews with experienced physician and patient users of an ambulatory patient portal, Epic’s MyChart. Participants were recruited from the Department of Family Medicine at a large Academic Medical Center (AMC) and included providers and their patients, who had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. A total of 29 patients and 13 primary care physicians participated in the interviews. All interviews were conducted by telephone and followed a semistructured interview guide. Interviews were transcribed verbatim to permit rigorous qualitative analysis. Both inductive and deductive methods were used to code and analyze the data iteratively, paying particular attention to themes involving secure messaging. Results: Experienced portal users discussed several emergent themes related to a need for greater clarity on when and how to use the secure messaging feature. Patient concerns included worry about imposing on their physician’s time, the lack of provider compensation for responding to secure messages, and uncertainty about when to use secure messaging to communicate with their providers. Similarly, providers articulated a lack of clarity as to the appropriate way to communicate via MyChart and suggested that additional training for both patients and providers might be important. Patient training could include orienting patients to the “rules of engagement” at portal sign-up, either in the office or through an online tutorial. Conclusions: As secure messaging through patient portals is increasingly being used as a method of physician-patient communication, both patients and providers are looking for guidance on how to appropriately engage with each other using this tool. Patients worry about whether their use is appropriate, and providers are concerned about the content of messages, which allow them to effectively manage patient questions. Our findings suggest that additional training may help address the concerns of both patients and providers, by providing “rules of engagement” for communication via patient portals.

  • Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: Marco Duz; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Validation of an Improved Computer-Assisted Technique for Mining Free-Text Electronic Medical Records


    Background: The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) offers opportunity for clinical epidemiological research. With large EMR databases, automated analysis processes are necessary but require thorough validation before they can be routinely used. Objective: The aim of this study was to validate a computer-assisted technique using commercially available content analysis software (SimStat-WordStat v.6 (SS/WS), Provalis Research) for mining free-text EMRs. Methods: The dataset used for the validation process included life-long EMRs from 335 patients (17,563 rows of data), selected at random from a larger dataset (141,543 patients, ~2.6 million rows of data) and obtained from 10 equine veterinary practices in the United Kingdom. The ability of the computer-assisted technique to detect rows of data (cases) of colic, renal failure, right dorsal colitis, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use in the population was compared with manual classification. The first step of the computer-assisted analysis process was the definition of inclusion dictionaries to identify cases, including terms identifying a condition of interest. Words in inclusion dictionaries were selected from the list of all words in the dataset obtained in SS/WS. The second step consisted of defining an exclusion dictionary, including combinations of words to remove cases erroneously classified by the inclusion dictionary alone. The third step was the definition of a reinclusion dictionary to reinclude cases that had been erroneously classified by the exclusion dictionary. Finally, cases obtained by the exclusion dictionary were removed from cases obtained by the inclusion dictionary, and cases from the reinclusion dictionary were subsequently reincluded using Rv3.0.2 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria). Manual analysis was performed as a separate process by a single experienced clinician reading through the dataset once and classifying each row of data based on the interpretation of the free-text notes. Validation was performed by comparison of the computer-assisted method with manual analysis, which was used as the gold standard. Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive values (NPVs), positive predictive values (PPVs), and F values of the computer-assisted process were calculated by comparing them with the manual classification. Results: Lowest sensitivity, specificity, PPVs, NPVs, and F values were 99.82% (1128/1130), 99.88% (16410/16429), 94.6% (223/239), 100.00% (16410/16412), and 99.0% (100×2×0.983×0.998/[0.983+0.998]), respectively. The computer-assisted process required few seconds to run, although an estimated 30 h were required for dictionary creation. Manual classification required approximately 80 man-hours. Conclusions: The critical step in this work is the creation of accurate and inclusive dictionaries to ensure that no potential cases are missed. It is significantly easier to remove false positive terms from a SS/WS selected subset of a large database than search that original database for potential false negatives. The benefits of using this method are proportional to the size of the dataset to be analyzed.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: David Mark; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Telemedicine Services for the Arctic: A Systematic Review


    Background: Telemedicine services have been successfully used in areas where there are adequate infrastructures such as reliable power and communication lines. However, despite the increasing number of merchants and seafarers, maritime and Arctic telemedicine have had limited success. This might be linked with various factors such as lack of good infrastructure, lack of trained onboard personnel, lack of Arctic-enhanced telemedicine equipment, extreme weather conditions, remoteness, and other geographical challenges. Objective: The purpose of this review was to assess and analyze the current status of telemedicine services in the context of maritime conditions, extreme weather (ie, Arctic weather), and remote accidents and emergencies. Moreover, the paper aimed to identify successfully implemented telemedicine services in the Arctic region and in maritime settings and remote emergency situations and present state of the art systems for these areas. Finally, we identified the status quo of telemedicine services in the context of search and rescue (SAR) scenarios in these extreme conditions. Methods: A rigorous literature search was conducted between September 7 and October 28, 2015, through various online databases. Peer reviewed journals and articles were considered. Relevant articles were first identified by reviewing the title, keywords, and abstract for a preliminary filter with our selection criteria, and then we reviewed full-text articles that seemed relevant. Information from the selected literature was extracted based on some predefined categories, which were defined based on previous research and further elaborated upon via iterative brainstorming. Results: The initial hits were vetted using the title, abstract, and keywords, and we retrieved a total of 471 papers. After removing duplicates from the list, 422 records remained. Then, we did an independent assessment of the articles and screening based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria, which eliminated another 219 papers, leaving 203 relevant papers. After a full-text assessment, 36 articles were left, which were critically analyzed. The inter-rater agreement was measured using Cohen Kappa test, and disagreements were resolved through discussion. Conclusions: Despite the increasing number of fishermen and other seafarers, Arctic and maritime working conditions are mainly characterized by an absence of access to health care facilities. The condition is further aggravated for fishermen and seafarers who are working in the Arctic regions. In spite of the existing barriers and challenges, some telemedicine services have recently been successfully delivered in these areas. These services include teleconsultation (9/37, 24%), teleradiology (8/37, 22%), teledermatology and tele-education (3/37, 8%), telemonitoring and telecardiology (telesonography) (1/37, 3%), and others (10/37, 27%). However, the use of telemedicine in relation to search and rescue (SAR) services is not yet fully exploited. Therefore, we foresee that these implemented and evaluated telemedicine services will serve as underlying models for the successful implementation of future search and rescue (SAR) services.

  • Computerised childbirth monitoring tools. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Computerized Childbirth Monitoring Tools for Health Care Providers Managing Labor: A Scoping Review


    Background: Proper monitoring of labor and childbirth prevents many pregnancy-related complications. However, monitoring is still poor in many places partly due to the usability concerns of support tools such as the partograph. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the development and evaluation of context-adaptable electronic health solutions to health challenges. Computerized tools have penetrated many areas of health care, but their influence in supporting health staff with childbirth seems limited. Objective: The objective of this scoping review was to determine the scope and trends of research on computerized labor monitoring tools that could be used by health care providers in childbirth management. Methods: We used key terms to search the Web for eligible peer-reviewed and gray literature. Eligibility criteria were a computerized labor monitoring tool for maternity service providers and dated 2006 to mid-2016. Retrieved papers were screened to eliminate ineligible papers, and consensus was reached on the papers included in the final analysis. Results: We started with about 380,000 papers, of which 14 papers qualified for the final analysis. Most tools were at the design and implementation stages of development. Three papers addressed post-implementation evaluations of two tools. No documentation on clinical outcome studies was retrieved. The parameters targeted with the tools varied, but they included fetal heart (10 of 11 tools), labor progress (8 of 11), and maternal status (7 of 11). Most tools were designed for use in personal computers in low-resource settings and could be customized for different user needs. Conclusions: Research on computerized labor monitoring tools is inadequate. Compared with other labor parameters, there was preponderance to fetal heart monitoring and hardly any summative evaluation of the available tools. More research, including clinical outcomes evaluation of computerized childbirth monitoring tools, is needed.

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  • Healthcare Information Systems and Technology: A Systematic Review

    Date Submitted: Jul 31, 2017

    Open Peer Review Period: Jul 31, 2017 - Sep 25, 2017

    The present article offers a systematic mapping of studies related to information systems and technology in the field of health care. Articles were selected and compiled from prestigious publications...

    The present article offers a systematic mapping of studies related to information systems and technology in the field of health care. Articles were selected and compiled from prestigious publications that combine knowledge related to information systems, science and health. This facilitates establishing a distribution of the available literature, obtaining as a result a map of knowledge that structures the different trends and main areas of research in this area. Finally, we project and propose future research for those trends that stand out because of their interest and the possibility of deepening them.