BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Discharging patients from the NICU may be delayed for nonmedical reasons including the need for medical equipment, parental education, and children’s services. We describe a method to predict which patients will be medically ready for discharge in the next 2 to 10 days, providing lead time to address nonmedical reasons for delayed discharge.
METHODS: A retrospective study examined 26 features (17 extracted, 9 engineered) from daily progress notes of 4693 patients (103 206 patient-days) from the NICU of a large, academic children’s hospital. These data were used to develop a supervised machine learning problem to predict days to discharge (DTD). Random forest classifiers were trained by using examined features and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision–based subpopulations to determine the most important features.
RESULTS: Three of the 4 subpopulations (premature, cardiac, gastrointestinal surgery) and all patients combined performed similarly at 2, 4, 7, and 10 DTD with area under the curve (AUC) ranging from 0.854 to 0.865 at 2 DTD and 0.723 to 0.729 at 10 DTD. Patients undergoing neurosurgery performed worse at every DTD measure, scoring 0.749 at 2 DTD and 0.614 at 10 DTD. This model was also able to identify important features and provide “rule-of-thumb” criteria for patients close to discharge. By using DTD equal to 4 and 2 features (oral percentage of feedings and weight), we constructed a model with an AUC of 0.843.
CONCLUSIONS: Using clinical features from daily progress notes provides an accurate method to predict when patients in the NICU are nearing discharge.
- Accepted May 19, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics