DKA Risk Prediction Tool Helps Reduce Hospitalizations

Each year, more than 12,700 pediatric patients are diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life threatening complication of diabetes. Texas Children’s Hospital sought a way to accurately predict risk of DKA in time for care team members to intervene before these patients suffered a severe episode.

The health system ultimately formed a multidisciplinary high risk diabetes team to devise pre- and post-discharge strategies, and DKA risk prediction tools aided by the Health Catalyst Analytics Platform built using the Late-BindingTM Data Warehouse.


  • 30.9 percent relative reduction in recurrent DKA admissions per fiscal year.
  • 90 percent of all patients with new onset type 1 diabetes at the Medical Center Campus have a documented RIPGC in their medical chart.
  • 100 percent of patients with type 1 diabetes have a risk index for DKA documented every 6 months.
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Other Content in Machine Learning / Predictive Analytics


Use ACE Scores in Machine Learning to Predict Disease Earlier and Improve Outcomes

The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanent showed a strong correlation between ACEs and negative health outcomes later in life (e.g., risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and early death). ACE scores help paint a more complete picture of a person’s health history—a more comprehensive data snapshot of the entire patient.

Given that ACE scores build better data sets and machine learning relies on high-quality data, health systems should incorporate these nutrient-rich data sources into their machine learning models to better predict negative health outcomes, allow for earlier interventions, and improve outcomes.

Healthcare machine learning is evolving to use ACE scores and lifestyle data (e.g., eating habits) to improve population health management.

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An Inside Look at Building Machine Learning for Healthcare

Machine learning is a term that crops up often in healthcare lately, but it’s important to understand what really constitutes learning in this context. What some call machine learning is actually unintentional programming, but true learning is derived during the process of building a predictive model. This article delves into the nuts and bolts of a healthcare machine learning model and describes the training process a model undergoes to impact outcomes for patients.

The key ingredient is data and the key deliverable is to complete the feedback loop so those responsible for managing care have actionable information at their disposal.

Machine learning is beyond conceptual; it’s incorporated into a growing list of predictive models for various disease classifications.

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How Machine Learning in Healthcare Saves Lives

There are limitless opportunities for machine learning in healthcare. Defined as, “a field of computer science that uses pattern recognition to identify historical relationships in large data sets using an algorithm to create a generalized model of behavior,” machine learning is one of the most important life-saving technologies ever introduced to healthcare for several reasons:

  • Reduces readmissions.
  • Prevents hospital acquired infections (HAIs).
  • Reduces hospital length of stay (LOS).
  • Predicts chronic disease.
  • Reduces one-year mortality.
  • Predicts propensity-to-pay.
  • Predicts no-shows.
  • Improves sepsis outcomes.

It’s no wonder health systems are eager to start leveraging machine learning to save lives, improve outcomes, and make systemwide enhancements.

They can do so by understanding machine learning basics, the importance of customized machine learning (not one-size-fits-all models) and historical data (a requirement for answering basic machine learning questions), and how machine learning helps their patients, clinical teams, and bottom lines.

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The Top Three Recommendations for Successfully Deploying Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

As data availability and open source tools make predictive analytics increasingly accessible for health systems, more organizations are adopting this advanced capability. Organizations won’t, however, use predictive analytics to its full potential—making it routine, pervasive, and actionable—without a deployment strategy that scales the technology.

Three recommendations can help health systems successfully deploy predictive analytics and leverage data experience to improve data-driven interventions and outcomes:

  1. Fully leverage your analytics environment.
  2. Standardize tools and methods using production quality code.
  3. Deploy with a strategy for intervention.
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The Real-World Benefits of Machine Learning in Healthcare

Machine learning in healthcare is already proving its worth in clinical applications. From identifying tumors in mammograms, to diagnosing skin cancer and diabetic retinopathy from images, algorithms can perform certain duties more quickly and reliably than humans. While only used for specialized medicine now, the time will come where every practitioner and patient will benefit from cyber-assisted bedside care. This won’t develop without ethical implications, but the advantages that machine learning will bring to healthcare in terms of lower costs, improved quality of care, and greater provider and patient satisfaction, will easily outweigh those concerns.

In this article, Dr. Ed Corbett explores the intricacies of machine learning from two perspectives: as a physician and as a family caregiver with a personal story about how this data science could benefit patient lives today.

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The Why And How Of Machine Learning And AI: An Implementation Guide For Healthcare Leaders

Join Kenneth Kleinberg, Health IT Strategist, and Eric Just, Senior Vice President, Health Catalyst, as they discuss the What, Why, and How of Machine Learning and AI for healthcare leaders.

Attendees will learn:

  1. Practical steps, timeframes and skills as well as real-time data and moving targets associated with the Implementation of ML and AI
  2. How to deal with challenges inherent in ML and AI implementation
  3. What the future holds for ML and AI
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Machine Learning Misconceptions

With all the buzz around machine learning, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the optimal use of modern machine learning tools., a free software package developed by the Health Catalyst data science team, was recently released to help hospitals gain valuable insights and advance outcomes improvements from their immense data sets. The software automates machine learning tasks and democratizes machine learning by making it accessible to ‘citizen data scientists’. We have received several questions about machine learning in healthcare, such as how do you define machine learning, how is it different than AI, what are some common uses cases for machine learning in healthcare, and what are the pitfalls. This webinar will develop a common vocabulary around these ideas. We’ll cover the differences between the most cutting-edge predictive techniques, how a model can be improved over time, and use case vignettes to understand and avoid typical machine learning pitfalls. In today’s healthcare industry, the fastest path to healthcare outcomes is often achieved using the simplest predictive tools.

Mike Mastanduno, PhD, data scientist, and Levi Thatcher, PhD, director of data science, will discuss the landscape of healthcare-specific machine learning. Mike and Levi have extensive experience building and deploying impactful machine learning models using and have worked at the cutting edge of medical research. During and after the discussion, they will answer viewer-submitted questions. This webinar will:


  1. Compare and contrast machine learning and AI.
  2. Discuss techniques that offer feedback into the system and when it’s necessary to retrain a model.
  3. Give advice on how to avoid common pitfalls in machine learning implementation.
  4. Provide use case example and vignette examples on how to apply the different classes of machine learning techniques.


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The MD Anderson / IBM Watson Announcement: What Does It Mean For Machine Learning In Healthcare?

It’s been over six years since IBM’s Watson amazed all of us on Jeopardy, but it has yet to deliver similar breakthroughs in healthcare. The headlines in last week’s Forbes article read, “MD Anderson Benches IBM Watson In Setback For Artificial Intelligence In Medicine.” Is it really a setback for the entire industry or not? Health Catalyst’s EVP for Product Development, Dale Sanders, believes that the challenges are unique to IBM’s machine learning strategy in healthcare. If they adjust that strategy and better manage expectations about what’s possible for machine learning in medicine, the future will be brighter for Watson, their clients, and AI in healthcare, in general. Watson’s success is good for all of us, but it’s failure is bad for all of us, too.

Join Dale as he discusses:

  1. The good news: Machine learning technology is accelerating at a rate beyond Moore’s Law. Dale believes that machine learning algorithms and models are doubling in capability every six months.
  2. The bad news: The healthcare data ecosystem is not nearly as rich as many would believe, and certainly not as rich as that used to train Watson for Jeopardy. Without high-volume, high-quality data, Watson’s potential and the constant advances in machine learning algorithms will hit a glass ceiling in healthcare.
  3. The best news: By adjusting strategy and expectations, there are still plenty of opportunities to do great things with machine learning by using the current data content in healthcare, while we build out the volume and breadth of data we need to truly understand the patient at the center of the healthcare picture… and you don’t need an army of PhD data scientists to do it.
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Deploying Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

This webinar will focus on the technical and practical aspects of creating and deploying predictive analytics. We have seen an emerging need for predictive analytics across clinical, operational, and financial domains. One pitfall we’ve seen with predictive analytics is that while many people with access to free tools can develop predictive models, many organizations fail to provide a sufficient infrastructure in which the models are deployed in a consistent, reliable way and truly embedded into the analytics environment. We will survey techniques that are used to get better predictions at scale. This webinar won’t be an intense mathematical treatment of the latest predictive algorithms, but will rather be a guide for organizations that want to embed predictive analytics into their technical and operational workflows.

Topics will include:

  1. Reducing the time it takes to develop a model
  2. Automating model training and retraining
  3. Feature engineering
  4. Deploying the model in the analytics environment
  5. Deploying the model in the clinical environment
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There Is A 90% Probability That Your Son Is Pregnant: Predicting the Future of Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

In this webinar, which is geared for managers and executives, Dale Sanders provides a new version of a very popular lecture he presented at this year’s Health Analytics Summit in Salt Lake City. Attendees will gain an understanding of:

  • What to expect from predictive analytics as it relates to human behavior
  • A general overview of predictive analytics models, and the contexts in which those various models should and should not be used
  • The scenarios in which predictive models in healthcare are effective and when they are not, given that 80% of population health outcomes are determined by socio-econonic factors, not healthcare delivery
  • The relationship between predictive analytic accuracy and topics of data management such as data quality, data volume and patient outcomes data
  • The use of predictive analytics to identify patients who are on a trajectory for poor, as well as good, outcomes
  • How current predictive analytics strategies are overlookng the cost of intervention and “Return on Engagement”, ROE— the cost per unit of healthcare improvement for patient populations
  • The cultural, philosophical, and legal conundrums that predictive analytics will create for healthcare, notably healthcare rationing

The success of predictive analytics will not be defined by the simple risk stratification of patient populations for care management teams. Success will depend on the costs of intervention to reduce the risks that are identified by predictive analytics, which boils down to this two-part question: Now that we can predict a patient’s risk for a bad healthcare outcome, “What’s the probability of influencing this patient’s behavior towards a better outcome?” And, “How much effort and cost will be required for that influence?”

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