Value of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Predicting Risk of Outcomes in Studies That Use Electronic Health Record Data.
Importance: Data from electronic health records (EHRs) are increasingly used for risk prediction. However, EHRs do not reliably collect sociodemographic and neighborhood information, which has been shown to be associated with health. The added contribution of neighborhood socioeconomic status (nSES) in predicting health events is unknown and may help inform population-level risk reduction strategies. Objective: To quantify the association of nSES with adverse outcomes and the value of nSES in predicting the risk of adverse outcomes in EHR-based risk models. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cohort study in which data from 90 097 patients 18 years or older in the Duke University Health System and Lincoln Community Health Center EHR from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2015, with at least 1 health care encounter and residence in Durham County, North Carolina, in the year prior to the index date were linked with census tract data to quantify the association between nSES and the risk of adverse outcomes. Machine learning methods were used to develop risk models and determine how adding nSES to EHR data affects risk prediction. Neighborhood socioeconomic status was defined using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality SES index, a weighted measure of multiple indicators of neighborhood deprivation. Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes included use of health care services (emergency department and inpatient and outpatient encounters) and hospitalizations due to accidents, asthma, influenza, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Results: Among the 90 097 patients in the training set of the study (57 507 women and 32 590 men; mean [SD] age, 47.2 [17.7] years) and the 122 812 patients in the testing set of the study (75 517 women and 47 295 men; mean [SD] age, 46.2 [17.9] years), those living in neighborhoods with lower nSES had a shorter time to use of emergency department services and inpatient encounters, as well as a shorter time to hospitalizations due to accidents, asthma, influenza, myocardial infarction, and stroke. The predictive value of nSES varied by outcome of interest (C statistic ranged from 0.50 to 0.63). When added to EHR variables, nSES did not improve predictive performance for any health outcome. Conclusions and Relevance: Social determinants of health, including nSES, are associated with the health of a patient. However, the results of this study suggest that information on nSES may not contribute much more to risk prediction above and beyond what is already provided by EHR data. Although this result does not mean that integrating social determinants of health into the EHR has no benefit, researchers may be able to use EHR data alone for population risk assessment.
Bhavsar, NA; Gao, A; Phelan, M; Pagidipati, NJ; Goldstein, BA
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