Unrecognized deterioration of COVID-19 patients can lead to high morbidity and mortality. Most existing deterioration prediction models require a large number of clinical information, typically collected in hospital settings, such as medical images or comprehensive laboratory tests. This is infeasible for telehealth solutions and highlights a gap in deterioration prediction models based on minimal data, which can be recorded at a large scale in any clinic, nursing home, or even at the patient’s home. In this study, we develop and compare two prognostic models that predict if a patient will experience deterioration in the forthcoming 3 to 24 h. The models sequentially process routine triadic vital signs: (a) oxygen saturation, (b) heart rate, and (c) temperature. These models are also provided with basic patient information, including sex, age, vaccination status, vaccination date, and status of obesity, hypertension, or diabetes. The difference between the two models is the way that the temporal dynamics of the vital signs are processed. Model #1 utilizes a temporally-dilated version of the Long-Short Term Memory model (LSTM) for temporal processes, and Model #2 utilizes a residual temporal convolutional network (TCN) for this purpose. We train and evaluate the models using data collected from 37,006 COVID-19 patients at NYU Langone Health in New York, USA. The convolution-based model outperforms the LSTM based model, achieving a high AUROC of 0.8844–0.9336 for 3 to 24 h deterioration prediction on a held-out test set. We also conduct occlusion experiments to evaluate the importance of each input feature, which reveals the significance of continuously monitoring the variation of the vital signs. Our results show the prospect for accurate deterioration forecast using a minimum feature set that can be relatively easily obtained using wearable devices and self-reported patient information.
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