Development of a prediction model of postpartum hospital use using an equity-focused approach

Teresa Janevic, Lewis E. Tomalin, Kimberly B. Glazer, Natalie Boychuk, Adina Kern-Goldberger, Micki Burdick, Frances Howell, Mayte Suarez-Farinas, Natalia Egorova, Jennifer Zeitlin, Paul Hebert, Elizabeth A. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Racial inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality persist into the postpartum period, leading to a higher rate of postpartum hospital use among Black and Hispanic people. Delivery hospitalizations provide an opportunity to screen and identify people at high risk to prevent adverse postpartum outcomes. Current models do not adequately incorporate social and structural determinants of health, and some include race, which may result in biased risk stratification. Objective: This study aimed to develop a risk prediction model of postpartum hospital use while incorporating social and structural determinants of health and using an equity approach. Study Design: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using 2016–2018 linked birth certificate and hospital discharge data for live-born infants in New York City. We included deliveries from 2016 to 2017 in model development, randomly assigning 70%/30% of deliveries as training/test data. We used deliveries in 2018 for temporal model validation. We defined “Composite postpartum hospital use” as at least 1 readmission or emergency department visit within 30 days of the delivery discharge. We categorized diagnosis at first hospital use into 14 categories based on International Classification of Diseases-Tenth Revision diagnosis codes. We tested 72 candidate variables, including social determinants of health, demographics, comorbidities, obstetrical complications, and severe maternal morbidity. Structural determinants of health were the Index of Concentration at the Extremes, which is an indicator of racial-economic segregation at the zip code level, and publicly available indices of the neighborhood built/natural and social/economic environment of the Child Opportunity Index. We used 4 statistical and machine learning algorithms to predict “Composite postpartum hospital use”, and an ensemble approach to predict “Cause-specific postpartum hospital use”. We simulated the impact of each risk stratification method paired with an effective intervention on race-ethnic equity in postpartum hospital use. Results: The overall incidence of postpartum hospital use was 5.7%; the incidences among Black, Hispanic, and White people were 8.8%, 7.4%, and 3.3%, respectively. The most common diagnoses for hospital use were general perinatal complications (17.5%), hypertension/eclampsia (12.0%), nongynecologic infections (10.7%), and wound infections (8.4%). Logistic regression with least absolute shrinkage and selection operator selection retained 22 predictor variables and achieved an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.69 in the training, 0.69 in test, and 0.69 in validation data. Other machine learning algorithms performed similarly. Selected social and structural determinants of health features included the Index of Concentration at the Extremes, insurance payor, depressive symptoms, and trimester entering prenatal care. The “Cause-specific postpartum hospital use” model selected 6 of the 14 outcome diagnoses (acute cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, hypertension/eclampsia, psychiatric disease, sepsis, and wound infection), achieving an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.75 in training, 0.77 in test, and 0.75 in validation data using a cross-validation approach. Models had slightly lower performance in Black and Hispanic subgroups. When simulating use of the risk stratification models with a postpartum intervention, identifying high-risk individuals with the “Composite postpartum hospital use” model resulted in the greatest reduction in racial-ethnic disparities in postpartum hospital use, compared with the “Cause-specific postpartum hospital use” model or a standard approach to identifying high-risk individuals with common pregnancy complications. Conclusion: The “Composite postpartum hospital use” prediction model incorporating social and structural determinants of health can be used at delivery discharge to identify persons at risk for postpartum hospital use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671.e1-671.e10
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • birth
  • delivery
  • diabetes
  • disparities
  • emergency department
  • equity
  • ethnicity
  • hypertension
  • inequity
  • maternal morbidity
  • maternal mortality
  • postpartum
  • prediction
  • preeclampsia
  • race
  • readmission
  • social determinants of health
  • structural determinants of health


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