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Scientific article
Open access
English

Historical visit attendance as predictor of treatment interruption in South African HIV patients : Extension of a validated machine learning model

Published inPLOS global public health, vol. 3, no. 7, e0002105
Publication date2023
First online date2023-07-19
Abstract

Retention of antiretroviral (ART) patients is a priority for achieving HIV epidemic control in South Africa. While machine-learning methods are being increasingly utilised to identify high risk populations for suboptimal HIV service utilisation, they are limited in terms of explaining relationships between predictors. To further understand these relationships, we implemented machine learning methods optimised for predictive power and traditional statistical methods. We used routinely collected electronic medical record (EMR) data to evaluate longitudinal predictors of lost-to-follow up (LTFU) and temporal interruptions in treatment (IIT) in the first two years of treatment for ART patients in the Gauteng and North West provinces of South Africa. Of the 191,162 ART patients and 1,833,248 visits analysed, 49% experienced at least one IIT and 85% of those returned for a subsequent clinical visit. Patients iteratively transition in and out of treatment indicating that ART retention in South Africa is likely underestimated. Historical visit attendance is shown to be predictive of IIT using machine learning, log binomial regression and survival analyses. Using a previously developed categorical boosting (CatBoost) algorithm, we demonstrate that historical visit attendance alone is able to predict almost half of next missed visits. With the addition of baseline demographic and clinical features, this model is able to predict up to 60% of next missed ART visits with a sensitivity of 61.9% (95% CI: 61.5-62.3%), specificity of 66.5% (95% CI: 66.4-66.7%), and positive predictive value of 19.7% (95% CI: 19.5-19.9%). While the full usage of this model is relevant for settings where infrastructure exists to extract EMR data and run computations in real-time, historical visits attendance alone can be used to identify those at risk of disengaging from HIV care in the absence of other behavioural or observable risk factors.

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Citation (ISO format)
ESRA, Rachel et al. Historical visit attendance as predictor of treatment interruption in South African HIV patients : Extension of a validated machine learning model. In: PLOS global public health, 2023, vol. 3, n° 7, p. e0002105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0002105
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ISSN of the journal2767-3375
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