Methods Inf Med
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1742671
Short Paper

Predicting Hospital Readmissions from Health Insurance Claims Data: A Modeling Study Targeting Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing

Alexander Gerharz*
1   Department of Statistics, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
,
Carmen Ruff*
2   Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Lucas Wirbka
2   Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Felicitas Stoll
2   Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Walter E. Haefeli
2   Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Andreas Groll
1   Department of Statistics, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
,
Andreas D. Meid
2   Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work was supported by the German Innovation Funds according to § 92a (2) Volume V of the Social Insurance Code (§ 92a Abs. 2, SGB V - Fünftes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch), grant number: 01VSF18019. The funding body did not play any role in the design of the study, collection, analyses, and interpretation of data or the manuscript. A.D.M. is funded by the Physician–Scientist Programme of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University.

Abstract

Background Numerous prediction models for readmissions are developed from hospital data whose predictor variables are based on specific data fields that are often not transferable to other settings. In contrast, routine data from statutory health insurances (in Germany) are highly standardized, ubiquitously available, and would thus allow for automatic identification of readmission risks.

Objectives To develop and internally validate prediction models for readmissions based on potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in six diseases from routine data.

Methods In a large database of German statutory health insurance claims, we detected disease-specific readmissions after index admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), a composite of stroke, transient ischemic attack or atrial fibrillation (S/AF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type-2 diabetes mellitus (DM), and osteoporosis (OS). PIP at the index admission was determined by the STOPP/START criteria (Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions/Screening Tool to Alert doctors to the Right Treatment) which were candidate variables in regularized prediction models for specific readmission within 90 days. The risks from disease-specific models were combined (“stacked”) to predict all-cause readmission within 90 days. Validation performance was measured by the c-statistics.

Results While the prevalence of START criteria was higher than for STOPP criteria, more single STOPP criteria were selected into models for specific readmissions. Performance in validation samples was the highest for DM (c-statistics: 0.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.66–0.70]), followed by COPD (c-statistics: 0.65 [95% CI: 0.64–0.67]), S/AF (c-statistics: 0.65 [95% CI: 0.63–0.66]), HF (c-statistics: 0.61 [95% CI: 0.60–0.62]), AMI (c-statistics: 0.58 [95% CI: 0.56–0.60]), and OS (c-statistics: 0.51 [95% CI: 0.47–0.56]). Integrating risks from disease-specific models to a combined model for all-cause readmission yielded a c-statistics of 0.63 [95% CI: 0.63–0.64].

Conclusion PIP successfully predicted readmissions for most diseases, opening the possibility for interventions to improve these modifiable risk factors. Machine-learning methods appear promising for future modeling of PIP predictors in complex older patients with many underlying diseases.

* Both authors contributed equally.


Ethical Approval

In Germany, claims data analyses do not require ethics committee approval by law. All data were completely anonymized for the investigators. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the health insurance company AOK Baden-Württemberg (third-party data). Restrictions apply to the availability of these data which were used under license for this study. Data are only available with the permission of AOK Baden-Württemberg.


Authors' Contributions

All authors were involved in the conception and design of the study, interpretation of data, and critical revision of the manuscript. A.G., C.R., A.G., and A.D.M. were additionally involved in the acquisition of data, statistical analysis, and drafting of the manuscript; W.E.H., A.G., and A.D.M. supervised the project.


Supplementary Material



Publication History

Received: 27 September 2021

Accepted: 28 December 2021

Article published online:
10 February 2022

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