Background: Statistical models that identify patients at elevated risk of death or hospitalization have focused on population subsets, such as those with a specific clinical condition or hospitalized patients. Most models have limitations for clinical use. Our objective was to develop models that identified high-risk primary care patients.
Methods: Using the Primary Care Management Module in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)’s Corporate Data Warehouse, we identified all patients who were enrolled and assigned to a VHA primary care provider on October 1, 2010. The outcome variable was the occurrence of hospitalization or death during the subsequent 90 days and 1 year. We extracted predictors from 6 categories: sociodemographics, medical conditions, vital signs, prior year use of health services, medications, and laboratory tests and then constructed multinomial logistic regression models to predict outcomes for over 4.6 million patients.
Results: In the predicted 95th risk percentiles, observed 90-day event rates were 19.6%, 6.2%, and 22.6%, respectively, for hospitalization, death, and either hospitalization or death, compared with population averages of 2.7%, 0.7%, and 3.4%, respectively; 1-year event rates were 42.3%, 19.4%, and 51.3%, respectively, compared with population averages of 8.2%, 2.6%, and 10.8%, respectively. The C-statistics for 90-day outcomes were 0.83, 0.86, and 0.81, respectively, for hospitalization, death, and either hospitalization or death and were 0.81, 0.85, and 0.79, respectively, for 1-year outcomes.
Conclusions: Prediction models using electronic clinical data accurately identified patients with elevated risk for hospitalization or death. This information can enhance the coordination of care for patients with complex clinical conditions.