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In JMIR medical informatics ; h5-index 23.0

BACKGROUND : Asthma is a major chronic disease that poses a heavy burden on health care. To facilitate the allocation of care management resources aimed at improving outcomes for high-risk patients with asthma, we recently built a machine learning model to predict asthma hospital visits in the subsequent year in patients with asthma. Our model is more accurate than previous models. However, like most machine learning models, it offers no explanation of its prediction results. This creates a barrier for use in care management, where interpretability is desired.

OBJECTIVE : This study aims to develop a method to automatically explain the prediction results of the model and recommend tailored interventions without lowering the performance measures of the model.

METHODS : Our data were imbalanced, with only a small portion of data instances linking to future asthma hospital visits. To handle imbalanced data, we extended our previous method of automatically offering rule-formed explanations for the prediction results of any machine learning model on tabular data without lowering the model's performance measures. In a secondary analysis of the 334,564 data instances from Intermountain Healthcare between 2005 and 2018 used to form our model, we employed the extended method to automatically explain the prediction results of our model and recommend tailored interventions. The patient cohort consisted of all patients with asthma who received care at Intermountain Healthcare between 2005 and 2018, and resided in Utah or Idaho as recorded at the visit.

RESULTS : Our method explained the prediction results for 89.7% (391/436) of the patients with asthma who, per our model's correct prediction, were likely to incur asthma hospital visits in the subsequent year.

CONCLUSIONS : This study is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of automatically offering rule-formed explanations for the prediction results of any machine learning model on imbalanced tabular data without lowering the performance measures of the model. After further improvement, our asthma outcome prediction model coupled with the automatic explanation function could be used by clinicians to guide the allocation of limited asthma care management resources and the identification of appropriate interventions.

Luo Gang, Johnson Michael D, Nkoy Flory L, He Shan, Stone Bryan L

2020-Dec-31

asthma, forecasting, machine learning, patient care management