Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Faculty of Science

School of Computer Science

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Associate Professor Yue Xu
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has highlighted that reducing avoidable hospital readmissions supports better health outcomes, improves patient safety and leads to greater efficiency in the health system. Previous studies have reported that up to 11% of the Emergency (ED) population are "heavy users" with a higher prevalence of psychosocial problems and often co-existing chronic medical conditions. All Australian governments have committed to reforms under the National Health Reform Agreement Addendum,1 and the ability to predict factors that influence readmission is of great importance as careful invention may reduce the occurrence of heavy use of services leading to greater efficiency and better health outcomes.

With increased adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in hospitals across Australia, many analytic applications for predicting patient readmission have been proposed and suggested several influential predictors to readmissions.

Existing models exhibit only moderate level of predictive performance and limit their approach to using aggregate features (e.g. the number of diseases), not considering interferences between diagnosis. It is common for patients to have one or more diagnoses, which is called comorbidity. Many studies have studied the importance of comorbidity and identified some associations between them to prevent or detect diseases.

However, these existing approaches have not been applied to applications for hospital readmission prediction and therefore, this research will adopt frequent pattern and association mining to find patterns of patient characteristics that contribute to hospital readmission. In addition, as the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) provides relationships between diagnoses, procedures and medications, this research will explore associations between them for improving prediction performance.

Research activities

This research will investigate the characteristics associated with intensive hospital use by mining HER data.

The main activities include:

  • carrying out a comparison study on validating previous findings from clinical studies
  • developing methods to identify latent relationships between features in EHR data
  • developing algorithms for specific domain knowledge linkage with EHR data
  • esigning and implementing a readmission prediction model based on the proposed algorithms.


Upon conclusion of this research project, we expect to:

  • have algorithms to identify the relationships between features in EHR datasets.
  • have algorithms to use domain knowledge for readmission prediction
  • develop a readmission prediction model based on the proposed algorithms.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, we expect you to have:

  • knowledge of data mining and machine learning
  • good programming skills (preferably Python, C#).


Contact the supervisor for more information.