Purpose: Medication errors such as potential inappropriate prescriptions would induce serious adverse drug events to patients. Information technology has the ability to prevent medication errors; however, the pharmacology of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is not as clear as in western medicine. The aim of this study was to apply the appropriateness of prescription (AOP) model to identify potential inappropriate TCM prescriptions. Methods: We used the association rule of mining techniques to analyze 14.5million prescriptions from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The disease and TCM (DTCM) and traditional Chinese medicine-traditional Chinese medicine (TCMM) associations are computed by their co-occurrence, and the associations' strength was measured as Q-values, which often referred to as interestingness or life values. By considering the number of Q-values, the AOP model was applied to identify the inappropriate prescriptions. Afterwards, three traditional Chinese physicians evaluated 1920 prescriptions and validated the detected outcomes from the AOP model. Result: Out of 1920 prescriptions, 97.1% of positive predictive value and 19.5% of negative predictive value were shown by the system as compared with those by experts. The sensitivity analysis indicated that the negative predictive value could improve up to 27.5% when the model's threshold changed to 0.4. Conclusion: We successfully applied the AOP model to automatically identify potential inappropriate TCM prescriptions. This model could be a potential TCM clinical decision support system in order to improve drug safety and quality of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-430
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Association rule mining
  • Data mining
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Potential appropriate prescription
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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