Optimal discharge of patients from intensive care via a data-driven policy learning framework

12/17/2021
by   Fernando Lejarza, et al.
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Clinical decision support tools rooted in machine learning and optimization can provide significant value to healthcare providers, including through better management of intensive care units. In particular, it is important that the patient discharge task addresses the nuanced trade-off between decreasing a patient's length of stay (and associated hospitalization costs) and the risk of readmission or even death following the discharge decision. This work introduces an end-to-end general framework for capturing this trade-off to recommend optimal discharge timing decisions given a patient's electronic health records. A data-driven approach is used to derive a parsimonious, discrete state space representation that captures a patient's physiological condition. Based on this model and a given cost function, an infinite-horizon discounted Markov decision process is formulated and solved numerically to compute an optimal discharge policy, whose value is assessed using off-policy evaluation strategies. Extensive numerical experiments are performed to validate the proposed framework using real-life intensive care unit patient data.

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