David Carrell, PhD

David Carrell PhD

“My work uses computers to mine and analyze information about patients’ health from the millions of clinical notes Kaiser Permanente Washington doctors and nurses write about their patients in a typical year.”

David Carrell, PhD

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

David Carrell, PhD, is an assistant investigator who develops and applies technology for extracting rich information from unstructured clinical text, such as physician progress notes. This work uses state-of-the-art clinical natural language processing (NLP) technologies in single- and multi-site settings.

An example of this work is an NLP system to identify women who have been diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer. Despite being a common and consequential clinical diagnosis, recurrent breast cancer cannot be tracked reliably using standard medical codes found in a person’s chart. Supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, he and his colleagues used information from clinician progress notes, radiology reports, and pathology reports to classify women by breast cancer recurrence.

Working with teams of researchers inside and outside Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Dr. Carrell has applied similar precision phenotyping methods to identify evidence of carotid artery stenosis, colon polyps, problem use of prescription opioids, and colonoscopy quality.

Dr. Carrell’s current research projects are applying NLP and machine learning methods to improve medication safety surveillance (through the Food and Drug Administration Sentinel Initiative) and to evaluate the impact on drug use disorder diagnosis and treatment of Kaiser Permanente Washington patients screened for unhealthy cannabis and other drug use.  His ongoing work also includes development and application of automated algorithms based on electronic health record data to identify patients with particular health conditions (called “patient phenotypes”) for use in genetic and epidemiological research.

RESEARCH INTERESTS AND EXPERIENCE

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    Surveillance methods for adverse events associated with medication exposure, including problem use of prescription opioids

  • Health Informatics

    Methods for using structured and unstructured electronic health record data to identify patients with (or without) specific clinical conditions or phenotypes for large scale epidemiological and genomic studies

  • Cancer and Cancer Screening

    Identifying recurrent breast cancer using EHR text; Colonoscopy quality metrics

  • Clinical Natural Language Processing

    Recurrent breast cancer; Colonoscopy quality; Extracting information from clinical text; Automated de-identification of clinical text; Methods for applying NLP methods in multi-site research

  • Addictions

    Prevention and treatment

  • Substance Use Disorders

  • Mental Health

  • Pharmacoepidemiology

     

  • Clinical Text De-identification

Recent publications

Bowen DJ, Urban N, Carrell D, Kinne S. Comparisons of strategies to prevent breast cancer mortality. J Soc Issues. 1993 Summer;49(2):35-60. PubMed

Carrell D. Whither the Revolution? The Toucqueville Review. 1987, 8:39-92

 

cancer research

SusanKarenDianneMary-1col.jpg

Using breast MRI after cancer may lead to unneeded biopsies

A Kaiser Permanente-led BCSC study is among the largest ever to evaluate adding MRI surveillance for breast cancer survivors.

research into action

Flu-vaccination-elderly-patients_1col.jpg

Can targeted flu vaccines lower the risk of hospitalization?

Dr. Paula Lozano explains how a Learning Health System project finds Kaiser Permanente Washington members who could benefit most from preventive services.

medication safety

Sascha-Dublin-patient-1col.jpg

Opioids may raise risks for serious infections

In Annals editorial Drs. Sascha Dublin and Michael Von Korff advocate more caution in prescribing these medications.