Assessment of Prediction Tasks and Time Window Selection in Temporal Modeling of Electronic Health Record Data: a Systematic Review

Sarah Pungitore, Vignesh Subbian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Temporal electronic health record (EHR) data are often preferred for clinical prediction tasks because they offer more complete representations of a patient’s pathophysiology than static data. A challenge when working with temporal EHR data is problem formulation, which includes defining the time windows of interest and the prediction task. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review that assessed the definition and reporting of concepts relevant to temporal clinical prediction tasks. We searched PubMed® and IEEE Xplore® databases for studies from January 1, 2010 applying machine learning models to EHR data for patient outcome prediction. Publications applying time-series methods were selected for further review. We identified 92 studies and summarized them by clinical context and definition and reporting of the prediction problem. For the time windows of interest, 12 studies did not discuss window lengths, 57 used a single set of window lengths, and 23 evaluated the relationship between window length and model performance. We also found that 72 studies had appropriate reporting of the prediction task. However, evaluation of prediction problem formulation for temporal EHR data was complicated by heterogeneity in assessing and reporting of these concepts. Even among studies modeling similar clinical outcomes, there were variations in terminology used to describe the prediction problem, rationale for window lengths, and determination of the outcome of interest. As temporal modeling using EHR data expands, minimal reporting standards should include time-series specific concerns to promote rigor and reproducibility in future studies and facilitate model implementation in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-331
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Healthcare Informatics Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Electronic health records
  • Machine learning
  • Systematic review
  • Temporal data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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