Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Predicting Hospitalization and Outpatient Corticosteroid Use in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients Using Machine Learning.

Waljee AK, Lipson R, Wiitala WL, Zhang Y, Liu B, Zhu J, Wallace B, Govani SM, Stidham RW, Hayward R, Higgins PDR. Predicting Hospitalization and Outpatient Corticosteroid Use in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients Using Machine Learning. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2017 Dec 19; 24(1):45-53.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease characterized by unpredictable episodes of flares and periods of remission. Tools that accurately predict disease course would substantially aid therapeutic decision-making. This study aims to construct a model that accurately predicts the combined end point of outpatient corticosteroid use and hospitalizations as a surrogate for IBD flare. Methods: Predictors evaluated included age, sex, race, use of corticosteroid-sparing immunosuppressive medications (immunomodulators and/or anti-TNF), longitudinal laboratory data, and number of previous IBD-related hospitalizations and outpatient corticosteroid prescriptions. We constructed models using logistic regression and machine learning methods (random forest [RF]) to predict the combined end point of hospitalization and/or corticosteroid use for IBD within 6 months. Results: We identified 20,368 Veterans Health Administration patients with the first (index) IBD diagnosis between 2002 and 2009. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AuROC) for the baseline logistic regression model was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67-0.68). AuROC for the RF longitudinal model was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.84-0.85). AuROC for the RF longitudinal model using previous hospitalization or steroid use was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.87-0.88). The 5 leading independent risk factors for future hospitalization or steroid use were age, mean serum albumin, immunosuppressive medication use, and mean and highest platelet counts. Previous hospitalization and corticosteroid use were highly predictive when included in specified models. Conclusions: A novel machine learning model substantially improved our ability to predict IBD-related hospitalization and outpatient steroid use. This model could be used at point of care to distinguish patients at high and low risk for disease flare, allowing individualized therapeutic management.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.