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Predicting return to work after traumatic brain injury using machine learning and administrative data

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Accurate patient-specific predictions on return-to-work after traumatic brain injury (TBI) can support both clinical practice and policymaking. The use of machine learning on large administrative data provides interesting opportunities to create such prognostic models.

The current study assesses whether return-to-work one year after TBI can be predicted accurately from administrative data. Additionally, this study explores how model performance and feature importance change depending on whether a distinction is made between mild and moderate-to-severe TBI.

This study used a population-based dataset that combined discharge, claims and social security data of patients hospitalized with a TBI in Belgium during the year 2016. The prediction of TBI was attempted with three algorithms, elastic net logistic regression, random forest and gradient boosting and compared in their performance by their accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operator curve (ROC AUC).

The distinct modelling algorithms resulted in similar results, with 83% accuracy (ROC AUC 85%) for a binary classification of employed vs. not employed and up to 76% (ROC AUC 82%) for a multiclass operationalization of employment outcome. Modelling mild and moderate-to-severe TBI separately did not result in considerable differences in model performance and feature importance. The features of main importance for return-to-work prediction were related to pre-injury employment.

While clearly offering some information beneficial for predicting return-to-work, administrative data needs to be supplemented with additional information to allow further improvement of patient-specific prognose.
Journal: Int. J. Med. Inform.
ISSN: 1386-5056
Volume: 178
Publication year:2023