Assessing the Added Value of Blood Pressure Information Derived from Electronic Health Records in Predicting Health Care Cost and Utilization

Popul Health Manag. 2022 Jun;25(3):323-334. doi: 10.1089/pop.2021.0250. Epub 2021 Nov 29.


Health care providers are increasingly using clinical measures derived from electronic health records (EHRs) for risk stratification and predictive modeling. EHR-specific data elements such as prescriptions, laboratory results, and vital signs have been shown to improve risk prediction models. In this study, the value of EHR-based blood pressure (BP) values was assessed in predicting health care costs (ie, total, medical, and pharmacy) and key utilization end points (ie, hospitalization, emergency department use, and being among the highest utilizers). The study population included 37,451 patients of a large integrated delivery system in the mid-western United States with complete EHR data files, who were 18-64 years old, had continuous insurance at an affiliated health plan, and had eligible BP records. Both EHRs and insurance claims of the study population were used to extract the predictors (ie, demographics, diagnosis, and BP values) and outcomes (ie, costs and utilizations). Predictors were extracted from 2012 data, whereas concurrent and prospective outcomes were extracted from 2012 to 2013 data. Three base models (BMs) were constructed to predict each of the outcomes. The first BM no. 1 used demographics. The second BM no. 2 added the Charlson comorbidity index to BM no. 1, whereas the third BM no. 3 added the Adjusted Clinical Group Dx-PM case-mix score to BM no. 1. BP was specified as means, ranges, and classes. Adding BP ranges to BM no. 1 and BM no. 2 showed the greatest improvements when predicting costs and utilization. More specifically, adjusted R2 and area under the curve of BM no. 2 improved by 32.9% and 14.1% when BP ranges were added to predict concurrent total cost and hospitalization, respectively. The effect of BP measures on improving the risk stratification models was diminished when predicting prospective outcomes after adding the measures to BM no. 3 (ie, the more comprehensive diagnostic model), specifically when represented as BP means. Given the increasing availability of BP information, this research suggests that these data should be integrated into provider-based population health analytic activities. Future research should focus on subpopulations that benefit the most from incorporating vital signs such as BP measures in risk stratification models.

Keywords: administrative claims; blood pressure; electronic health records; predictive modeling; risk stratification; utilization prediction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States
  • Young Adult