Investigating the impact of disease and health record duration on the eMERGE algorithm for rheumatoid arthritis

Vanessa L. Kronzer, Liwei Wang, Hongfang Liu, John M. Davis, Jeffrey A. Sparks, Cynthia S. Crowson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The study sought to determine the dependence of the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) rheumatoid arthritis (RA) algorithm on both RA and electronic health record (EHR) duration. Materials and Methods: Using a population-based cohort from the Mayo Clinic Biobank, we identified 497 patients with at least 1 RA diagnosis code. RA case status was manually determined using validated criteria for RA. RA duration was defined as time from first RA code to the index date of biobank enrollment. To simulate EHR duration, various years of EHR lookback were applied, starting at the index date and going backward. Model performance was determined by sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and area under the curve (AUC). Results: The eMERGE algorithm performed well in this cohort, with overall sensitivity 53%, specificity 99%, positive predictive value 97%, negative predictive value 74%, and AUC 76%. Among patients with RA duration <2 years, sensitivity and AUC were only 9% and 54%, respectively, but increased to 71% and 85% among patients with RA duration >10 years. Longer EHR lookback also improved model performance up to a threshold of 10 years, in which sensitivity reached 52% and AUC 75%. However, optimal EHR lookback varied by RA duration; an EHR lookback of 3 years was best able to identify recently diagnosed RA cases. Conclusions: eMERGE algorithm performance improves with longer RA duration as well as EHR duration up to 10 years, though shorter EHR lookback can improve identification of recently diagnosed RA cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-605
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Algorithm
  • Electronic health record
  • Emerge
  • Natural language processing
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating the impact of disease and health record duration on the eMERGE algorithm for rheumatoid arthritis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this