Machine learning applied to electronic health record data in home healthcare: A scoping review

Int J Med Inform. 2023 Feb:170:104978. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2022.104978. Epub 2022 Dec 30.


Objective: Despite recent calls for home healthcare (HHC) to integrate informatics, the application of machine learning in HHC is relatively unknown. Thus, this study aimed to synthesize and appraise the literature describing the application of machine learning to predict adverse outcomes (e.g., hospitalization, mortality) using electronic health record (EHR) data in the HHC setting. Our secondary aim was to evaluate the comprehensiveness of predictors used in the machine learning algorithms guided by the Biopsychosocial Model.

Methods: During March 2022 we conducted a literature search in four databases: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Scopus. Inclusion criteria were 1) describing services provided in the HHC setting, 2) applying machine learning algorithms to predict adverse outcomes, defined as outcomes related to patient deterioration, 3) using EHR data and 4) focusing on the adult population. Predictors were mapped to the Biopsychosocial Model. A risk of bias analysis was conducted using the Prediction Model Risk Of Bias Assessment Tool.

Results: The final sample included 20 studies. Eighteen studies used predictors from standardized assessments integrated in the EHR. The most common outcome of interest was hospitalization (55%), followed by mortality (25%). Psychological predictors were frequently excluded (35%). Tree based algorithms were most frequently applied (75%). Most studies demonstrated high or unclear risk of bias (75%).

Conclusion: Future studies in HHC should consider incorporating machine learning algorithms into clinical decision support systems to identify patients at risk. Based on the Biopsychosocial model, psychological and interpersonal characteristics should be used along with biological characteristics to enhance risk prediction. To facilitate the widespread adoption of machine learning, stakeholders should encourage standardization in the HHC setting.

Keywords: Adverse Events; Home Health Care; Machine Learning; Nursing Informatics; Prediction.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning