Natural language processing to identify reasons for sex disparity in statin prescriptions. American journal of preventive cardiology Witting, C., Azizi, Z., Gomez, S. E., Zammit, A., Sarraju, A., Ngo, S., Hernandez-Boussard, T., Rodriguez, F. 2023; 14: 100496


Background: Statins are the cornerstone of treatment of patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Despite this, multiple studies have shown that women with ASCVD are less likely to be prescribed statins than men. The objective of this study was to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to elucidate factors contributing to this disparity.Methods: Our cohort included adult patients with two or more encounters between 2014 and 2021 with an ASCVD diagnosis within a multisite electronic health record (EHR) in Northern California. After reviewing structured EHR prescription data, we used a benchmark deep learning NLP approach, Clinical Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), to identify and interpret discussions of statin prescriptions documented in clinical notes. Clinical BERT was evaluated against expert clinician review in 20% test sets.Results: There were 88,913 patients with ASCVD (mean age 67.8±13.1 years) and 35,901 (40.4%) were women. Women with ASCVD were less likely to be prescribed statins compared with men (56.6%vs 67.6%, p <0.001), and, when prescribed, less likely to be prescribed guideline-directed high-intensity dosing (41.4%vs 49.8%, p <0.001). These disparities were more pronounced among younger patients, patients with private insurance, and those for whom English is their preferred language. Among those not prescribed statins, women were less likely than men to have statins mentioned in their clinical notes (16.9%vs 19.1%, p <0.001). Women were less likely than men to have statin use reported in clinical notes despite absence of recorded prescription (32.8%vs 42.6%, p <0.001). Women were slightly more likely than men to have statin intolerance documented in structured data or clinical notes (6.0%vs 5.3%, p=0.003).Conclusions: Women with ASCVD were less likely to be prescribed guideline-directed statins compared with men. NLP identified additional sex-based statin disparities and reasons for statin non-prescription in clinical notes of patients with ASCVD.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajpc.2023.100496

View details for PubMedID 37128554