AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings. AMIA Symposium

Predictive and Causal Analysis of No-Shows for Medical Exams During COVID-19: A Case Study of Breast Imaging in a Nationwide Israeli Health Organization


"No-shows", defined as missed appointments or late cancellations, is a central problem in healthcare systems. It has appeared to intensify during the COVID-19 pandemic and the nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as closures, taken to slow its spread. No-shows interfere with patients' continuous care, lead to inefficient utilization of medical resources, and increase healthcare costs. We present a comprehensive analysis of no-shows for breast imaging appointments made during 2020 in a large medical network in Israel. We applied advanced machine learning methods to provide insights into novel and known predictors. Additionally, we employed causal inference methodology to infer the effect of closures on no-shows, after accounting for confounding biases, and demonstrate the superiority of adversarial balancing over inverse probability weighting in correcting these biases. Our results imply that a patient's perceived risk of cancer and the COVID-19 time-based factors are major predictors. Further, we reveal that closures impact patients over 60, but not patients undergoing advanced diagnostic examinations.