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Journal Articles Rheumatology International Year : 2024

Prediction of the acceptance of telemedicine among rheumatic patients: a machine learning-powered secondary analysis of German survey data

Abstract

Abstract Telemedicine (TM) has augmented healthcare by enabling remote consultations, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients, thereby improving healthcare access and patient outcomes. However, successful adoption of TM depends on user acceptance, which is influenced by technical, socioeconomic, and health-related factors. Leveraging machine learning (ML) to accurately predict these adoption factors can greatly contribute to the effective utilization of TM in healthcare. The objective of the study was to compare 12 ML algorithms for predicting willingness to use TM (TM try) among patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and identify key contributing features. We conducted a secondary analysis of RMD patient data from a German nationwide cross-sectional survey. Twelve ML algorithms, including logistic regression, random forest, extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), and neural network (deep learning) were tested on a subset of the dataset, with the inclusion of only RMD patients who answered “yes” or “no” to TM try. Nested cross-validation was used for each model. The best-performing model was selected based on area under the receiver operator characteristic (AUROC). For the best-performing model, a multinomial/multiclass ML approach was undertaken with the consideration of the three following classes: “yes”, “no”, “do not know/not answered”. Both one-vs-one and one-vs-rest strategies were considered. The feature importance was investigated using Shapley additive explanation (SHAP). A total of 438 RMD patients were included, with 26.5% of them willing to try TM, 40.6% not willing, and 32.9% undecided (missing answer or “do not know answer”). This dataset was used to train and test ML models. The mean accuracy of the 12 ML models ranged from 0.69 to 0.83, while the mean AUROC ranged from 0.79 to 0.90. The XGBoost model produced better results compared with the other models, with a sensitivity of 70%, specificity of 91% and positive predictive value of 84%. The most important predictors of TM try were the possibility that TM services were offered by a rheumatologist, prior TM knowledge, age, self-reported health status, Internet access at home and type of RMD diseases. For instance, for the yes vs. no classification, not wishing that TM services were offered by a rheumatologist, self-reporting a bad health status and being aged 60–69 years directed the model toward not wanting to try TM. By contrast, having Internet access at home and wishing that TM services were offered by a rheumatologist directed toward TM try. Our findings have significant implications for primary care, in particular for healthcare professionals aiming to implement TM effectively in their clinical routine. By understanding the key factors influencing patients' acceptance of TM, such as their expressed desire for TM services provided by a rheumatologist, self-reported health status, availability of home Internet access, and age, healthcare professionals can tailor their strategies to maximize the adoption and utilization of TM, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes for RMD patients. Our findings are of high interest for both clinical and medical teaching practice to fit changing health needs caused by the growing number of complex and chronically ill patients.
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Dates and versions

hal-04390639 , version 1 (05-04-2024)

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Felix Muehlensiepen, Pascal Petit, Johannes Knitza, Martin Welcker, Nicolas Vuillerme. Prediction of the acceptance of telemedicine among rheumatic patients: a machine learning-powered secondary analysis of German survey data. Rheumatology International, 2024, ⟨10.1007/s00296-023-05518-9⟩. ⟨hal-04390639⟩

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