Go to content

Predicting hospitalisations related to ambulatory care sensitive conditions with machine learning for population health planning: derivation and validation cohort study


Objective — To predict older adults’ risk of avoidable hospitalisation related to ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) using machine learning applied to administrative health data of Ontario, Canada.

Design, Setting and Participants — A retrospective cohort study was conducted on a large cohort of all residents covered under a single-payer system in Ontario, Canada over the period of 10 years (2008–2017). The study included 1.85 million Ontario residents between 65 and 74 years old at any time throughout the study period.

Data Sources — Administrative health data from Ontario, Canada obtained from the (ICES formely known as the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Data Repository.

Main Outcome Measures — Risk of hospitalisations due to ACSCs 1 year after the observation period.

Results — The study used a total of 1 854 116 patients, split into train, validation and test sets. The ACSC incidence rates among the data points were 1.1% for all sets. The final XGBoost model achieved an area under the receiver operating curve of 80.5% and an area under precision–recall curve of 0.093 on the test set, and the predictions were well calibrated, including in key subgroups. When ranking the model predictions, those at the top 5% of risk as predicted by the model captured 37.4% of those presented with an ACSC-related hospitalisation. A variety of features such as the previous number of ambulatory care visits, presence of ACSC-related hospitalisations during the observation window, age, rural residence and prescription of certain medications were contributors to the prediction. Our model was also able to capture the geospatial heterogeneity of ACSC risk in Ontario, and especially the elevated risk in rural and marginalised regions.

Conclusions — This study aimed to predict the 1-year risk of hospitalisation from ambulatory-care sensitive conditions in seniors aged 65–74 years old with a single, large-scale machine learning model. The model shows the potential to inform population health planning and interventions to reduce the burden of ACSC-related hospitalisations.



Yi SE, Harish V, Gutierrez J, Ravaut M, Kornas K, Watson T, Poutanen T, Ghassemi M, Volkovs M, Rosella LC. BMJ Open. 2022; 12(4):e051403. Epub 2022 Apr 1.

View Source

Contributing ICES Scientists