Development and Prospective Validation of a Machine Learning-Based Risk of Readmission Model in a Large Military Hospital

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Background Thirty-day hospital readmissions are a quality metric for health care systems. Predictive models aim to identify patients likely to readmit to more effectively target preventive strategies. Many risk of readmission models have been developed on retrospective data, but prospective validation of readmission models is rare. To the best of our knowledge, none of these developed models have been evaluated or prospectively validated in a military hospital. Objectives The objectives of this study are to demonstrate the development and prospective validation of machine learning (ML) risk of readmission models to be utilized by clinical staff at a military medical facility and demonstrate the collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense's integrated health care system and a private company. Methods We evaluated multiple ML algorithms to develop a predictive model for 30-day readmissions using data from a retrospective cohort of all-cause inpatient readmissions at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC). This predictive model was then validated on prospective MAMC patient data. Precision, recall, accuracy, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were used to evaluate model performance. The model was revised, retrained, and rescored on additional retrospective MAMC data after the prospective model's initial performance was evaluated. Results Within the initial retrospective cohort, which included 32,659 patient encounters, the model achieved an AUC of 0.68. During prospective scoring, 1,574 patients were scored, of whom 152 were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, with an all-cause readmission rate of 9.7%. The AUC of the prospective predictive model was 0.64. The model achieved an AUC of 0.76 after revision and addition of further retrospective data. Conclusion This work reflects significant collaborative efforts required to operationalize ML models in a complex clinical environment such as that seen in an integrated health care system and the importance of prospective model validation.

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Applied Clinical Informatics





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