Preventing inpatient falls with injuries using integrative machine learning prediction: a cohort study

Lin Wang, Zhong Xue, Chika F. Ezeana, Mamta Puppala, Shenyi Chen, Rebecca L. Danforth, Xiaohui Yu, Tiancheng He, Mark L. Vassallo, Stephen T.C. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Patient falls during hospitalization can lead to severe injuries and remain one of the most vexing patient-safety problems facing hospitals. They lead to increased medical care costs, lengthened hospital stays, more litigation, and even death. Existing methods and technology to address this problem mostly focus on stratifying inpatients at risk, without predicting fall severity or injuries. Here, a retrospective cohort study was designed and performed to predict the severity of inpatient falls, based on a machine learning classifier integrating multi-view ensemble learning and model-based missing data imputation method. As input, over two thousand inpatient fall patients’ demographic characteristics, diagnoses, procedural data, and bone density measurements were retrieved from the HMH clinical data warehouse from two separate time periods. The predictive classifier developed based on multi-view ensemble learning with missing values (MELMV) outperformed other three baseline models; achieved a cross-validated AUC of 0.713 (95% CI, 0.701–0.725), an AUC of 0.808 (95% CI, 0.740–0.876) on the separate testing set. Our studies show the efficacy of integrative machine-learning based classifier model in dealing with multi-source patient data, which in this case delivers robust predictive performance on the severity of patient falls. The severe fall index provided by the MELMV classifier is calculated to identify inpatients who are at risk of having severe injuries if they fall, thus triggering additional steps of intervention to prevent a harmful fall, beyond the standard-of-care procedure for all high-risk fall patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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