A comparative analysis of machine learning approaches to predict C. difficile infection in hospitalized patients

A comparative analysis of machine learning approaches to predict C. difficile infection in hospitalized patients

ABSTRACT

Background

Interventions to better prevent or manage Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) may significantly reduce morbidity, mortality, and healthcare spending.

Methods

We present a retrospective study using electronic health record data from over 700 United States hospitals. A subset of hospitals was used to develop machine learning algorithms (MLAs); the remaining hospitals served as an external test set. Three MLAs were evaluated: gradient-boosted decision trees (XGBoost), Deep Long Short Term Memory neural network, and one-dimensional convolutional neural network. MLA performance was evaluated with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC), sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic odds ratios and likelihood ratios.

Results

The development dataset contained 13,664,840 inpatient encounters with 80,046 CDI encounters; the external dataset contained 1,149,088 inpatient encounters with 7,107 CDI encounters. The highest AUROCs were achieved for XGB, Deep Long Short Term Memory neural network, and one-dimensional convolutional neural network via abstaining from use of specialized training techniques, resampling in isolation, and resampling and output bias in combination, respectively. XGBoost achieved the highest AUROC.

Conclusions

MLAs can predict future CDI in hospitalized patients using just 6 hours of data. In clinical practice, a machine-learning based tool may support prophylactic measures, earlier diagnosis, and more timely implementation of infection control measures.