Home healthcare (HHC) agencies provide care to more than 3.4 million adults per year. There is value in studying HHC narrative notes to identify patients at risk for deterioration. This study aimed to build machine learning algorithms to identify "concerning" narrative notes of HHC patients and identify emerging themes. Six algorithms were applied to narrative notes (n = 4,000) from a HHC agency to classify notes as either "concerning" or "not concerning." Topic modeling using Latent Dirichlet Allocation bag of words was conducted to identify emerging themes from the concerning notes. Gradient Boosted Trees demonstrated the best performance with a F-score = 0.74 and AUC = 0.96. Emerging themes were related to patient-clinician communication, HHC services provided, gait challenges, mobility concerns, wounds, and caregivers. Most themes have been cited by previous literature as increasing risk for adverse events. In the future, such algorithms can support early identification of patients at risk for deterioration.
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