Statistical visualization for assessing performance of methods for safety surveillance using electronic databases

Xiaochun Li*, Siu Hui, Patrick Ryan, Marc Rosenman, Marc Overhage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The success of an epidemiological study for drug safety surveillance or comparative effectiveness depends largely on design and analysis strategies besides data quality. The Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) methods community implemented a collection of statistical methods with extensive parameters allowing a wide variety of designs and analyses. Our objective was to develop a visualization tool to explore which parameter settings may enable better predictive properties for a given method in a database. Methods: Performance measures were produced for each setting, including sensitivity (recall), specificity (1-FPR), AUC, MAP, and Pk. Multiple regressions with relevant parameters as main effects were run for performance measures on all test cases and subgroups. Heatmaps with sequential palettes to indicate the parameters' impacts on performance measures were generated based on matrices of the standardized coefficients (t-statistics) by parameter settings and test case subgroups. Results: Heatmaps help researchers to explore design and analysis options of methods for evaluating a variety of drug-outcome relationships and also to explore data issues. Conclusions: Statistical visualization through heatmaps is a useful tool for summarizing and presenting method performance results and for the exploration of the parameter settings for method performance characteristics and data limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-509
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • AUC
  • Electronic observational databases
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Safety surveillance
  • Sensitivity (recall)
  • Specificity (FPR)
  • Statistical visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical visualization for assessing performance of methods for safety surveillance using electronic databases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this