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. 2018 Oct;164:49-64.
doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2018.06.006. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Predictive Models for Hospital Readmission Risk: A Systematic Review of Methods


Predictive Models for Hospital Readmission Risk: A Systematic Review of Methods

Arkaitz Artetxe et al. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. .


Objectives: Hospital readmission risk prediction facilitates the identification of patients potentially at high risk so that resources can be used more efficiently in terms of cost-benefit. In this context, several models for readmission risk prediction have been proposed in recent years. The goal of this review is to give an overview of prediction models for hospital readmission, describe the data analysis methods and algorithms used for building the models, and synthesize their results.

Methods: Studies that reported the predictive performance of a model for hospital readmission risk were included. We defined the scope of the review and accordingly built a search query to select the candidate papers. This query string was used as input for the chosen search engines, namely PubMed and Google Scholar. For each study, we recorded the population, feature selection method, classification algorithm, sample size, readmission threshold, readmission rate and predictive performance of the model.

Results: We identified 77 studies that met the inclusion criteria, out of 265 citations. In 68% of the studies (n = 52) logistic regression or other regression techniques were utilized as the main method. Ten (13%) studies used survival analysis for model construction, while 14 (18%) used machine learning techniques for classification, of which decision tree-based methods and SVM were the most utilized algorithms. Among these, only four studies reported the use of any class imbalance addressing technique, of which resampling is the most frequent (75%). The performance of the models varied significantly among studies, with Area Under the ROC Curve (AUC) values in the ranges between 0.54 and 0.92.

Conclusion: Logistic regression and survival analysis have been traditionally the most widely used techniques for model building. Nevertheless, machine learning techniques are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Recent comparative studies suggest that machine learning techniques can improve prediction ability over traditional statistical approaches. Regardless, the lack of an appropriate benchmark dataset of hospital readmissions makes a comparison of models' performance across different studies difficult.

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