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The Multimorbidity Index: A Tool for Assessing the Prognosis of Patients from Their History of Illness.

Alemi F, Levy CR, Kheirbek RE. The Multimorbidity Index: A Tool for Assessing the Prognosis of Patients from Their History of Illness. EGEMS (Washington, DC). 2016 Oct 13; 4(1):1235.

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BACKGROUND: The Multimorbidity (MM) Index predicts the prognosis of patients from their diagnostic history. In contrast to existing approaches with broad diagnostic categories, it treats each diagnosis as a separate independent variable using individual International Classification of Disease, Revision 9 (ICD-9) codes. OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the MM Index, reviews the published data on its accuracy, and provides procedures for implementing the Index within electronic health record (EHR) systems. Methods: The MM Index was tested on various patient populations by using data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs data warehouse and claims data within the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. RESULTS: In cross-validated studies, the MM Index outperformed prognostic indices based on physiological markers, such as CD4 cell counts in HIV/AIDS, HbAlc levels in diabetes, ejection fractions in heart failure, or the 13 physiological markers commonly used for patients in intensive care units. When predicting the prognosis of nursing home patients by using the cross-validated area under a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, the MM Index was 15 percent outperformed the Quan variant of the Charlson Index, 27 percent more accurate than the Deyo variant of the Charlson Index, and 22 percent more accurate than the von Walraven variant of the Elixhauser Index. For patients in intensive care units, the MM Index was 13 percent outperformed the cross-validated area under ROC associated with Elixhauser''s categories. The MM Index also demonstrated greater accuracy than a number of commercially available measures of illness severity; including a fivefold greater accuracy than the All Patient Refined Diagnosis-Related Groups and a threefold greater accuracy than All Payer Severity-Adjusted Diagnosis-Related Groups. CONCLUSION: The MM Index is statistically more accurate than many existing measures of prognosis. The magnitude of improvement is large and may lead to a clinically meaningful difference in patient care. Given the large improvements in accuracy, the use of the MM Index for policy and comparative effectiveness analysis is recommended.

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