Clustering of 27,525,663 Death Records from the United States Based on Health Conditions Associated with Death: An Example of big Health Data Exploration.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Clin Med, 2019, 8 (7)
Issue Date:
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BACKGROUND: Insight into health conditions associated with death can inform healthcare policy. We aimed to cluster 27,525,663 deceased people based on the health conditions associated with death to study the associations between the health condition clusters, demographics, the recorded underlying cause and place of death. METHODS: Data from all deaths in the United States registered between 2006 and 2016 from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics were analyzed. A self-organizing map (SOM) was used to create an ordered representation of the mortality data. RESULTS: 16 clusters based on the health conditions associated with death were found showing significant differences in socio-demographics, place, and cause of death. Most people died at old age (73.1 (18.0) years) and had multiple health conditions. Chronic ischemic heart disease was the main cause of death. Most people died in the hospital or at home. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of multiple health conditions at death requires a shift from disease-oriented towards person-centred palliative care at the end of life, including timely advance care planning. Understanding differences in population-based patterns and clusters of end-of-life experiences is an important step toward developing a strategy for implementing population-based palliative care.
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