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J Am Med Inform Assoc ; 28(7): 1411-1420, 2021 07 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1075534


OBJECTIVE: The Consortium for Clinical Characterization of COVID-19 by EHR (4CE) is an international collaboration addressing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with federated analyses of electronic health record (EHR) data. We sought to develop and validate a computable phenotype for COVID-19 severity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twelve 4CE sites participated. First, we developed an EHR-based severity phenotype consisting of 6 code classes, and we validated it on patient hospitalization data from the 12 4CE clinical sites against the outcomes of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and/or death. We also piloted an alternative machine learning approach and compared selected predictors of severity with the 4CE phenotype at 1 site. RESULTS: The full 4CE severity phenotype had pooled sensitivity of 0.73 and specificity 0.83 for the combined outcome of ICU admission and/or death. The sensitivity of individual code categories for acuity had high variability-up to 0.65 across sites. At one pilot site, the expert-derived phenotype had mean area under the curve of 0.903 (95% confidence interval, 0.886-0.921), compared with an area under the curve of 0.956 (95% confidence interval, 0.952-0.959) for the machine learning approach. Billing codes were poor proxies of ICU admission, with as low as 49% precision and recall compared with chart review. DISCUSSION: We developed a severity phenotype using 6 code classes that proved resilient to coding variability across international institutions. In contrast, machine learning approaches may overfit hospital-specific orders. Manual chart review revealed discrepancies even in the gold-standard outcomes, possibly owing to heterogeneous pandemic conditions. CONCLUSIONS: We developed an EHR-based severity phenotype for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients and validated it at 12 international sites.

COVID-19 , Electronic Health Records , Severity of Illness Index , COVID-19/classification , Hospitalization , Humans , Machine Learning , Prognosis , ROC Curve , Sensitivity and Specificity