Timely assessment to accurately prioritize patients is crucial for emergency department (ED) management. Urgent (i.e., level-3, on a 5-level emergency severity index system) patients have become a challenge since under-triage and over-triage often occur. This study was aimed to develop a computational model by artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies to accurately predict urgent patient outcomes using data that are readily available in most ED triage systems. We retrospectively collected data from the ED of a tertiary teaching hospital between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019. Eleven variables were used for data analysis and prediction model building, including 1 response, 2 demographic, and 8 clinical variables. A model to predict hospital admission was developed using neural networks and machine learning methodologies. A total of 282,971 samples of urgent (level-3) visits were included in the analysis. Our model achieved a validation area under the curve (AUC) of 0.8004 (95% CI 0.7963–0.8045). The optimal cutoff value identified by Youden's index for determining hospital admission was 0.5517. Using this cutoff value, the sensitivity was 0.6721 (95% CI 0.6624–0.6818), and the specificity was 0.7814 (95% CI 0.7777–0.7851), with a positive predictive value of 0.3660 (95% CI 0.3586–0.3733) and a negative predictive value of 0.9270 (95% CI 0.9244–0.9295). Subgroup analysis revealed that this model performed better in the nontraumatic adult subgroup and achieved a validation AUC of 0.8166 (95% CI 0.8199–0.8212). Our AI model accurately assessed the need for hospitalization for urgent patients, which constituted nearly 70% of ED visits. This model demonstrates the potential for streamlining ED operations using a very limited number of variables that are readily available in most ED triage systems. Subgroup analysis is an important topic for future investigation.
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