Predicting Visit Cost of Obstructive Sleep Apnea using Electronic Healthcare Records with Transformer

Zhaoyang Chen, Lina Siltala-Li, Mikko Lassila, Pekka Malo, Eeva Vilkkumaa, Tarja Saaresranta, Arho Veli Virkki

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Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is growing increasingly prevalent in many countries as obesity rises. Sufficient, effective treatment of OSA entails high social and financial costs for healthcare. Objective: For treatment purposes, predicting OSA patients' visit expenses for the coming year is crucial. Reliable estimates enable healthcare decision-makers to perform careful fiscal management and budget well for effective distribution of resources to hospitals. The challenges created by scarcity of high-quality patient data are exacerbated by the fact that just a third of those data from OSA patients can be used to train analytics models: only OSA patients with more than 365 days of follow-up are relevant for predicting a year's expenditures. Methods and procedures: The authors propose a translational engineering method applying two Transformer models, one for augmenting the input via data from shorter visit histories and the other predicting the costs by considering both the material thus enriched and cases with more than a year's follow-up. This method effectively adapts state-of-the-art Transformer models to create practical cost prediction solutions that can be implemented in OSA management, potentially enhancing patient care and resource allocation. Results: The two-model solution permits putting the limited body of OSA patient data to productive use. Relative to a single-Transformer solution using only a third of the high-quality patient data, the solution with two models improved the prediction performance's R2 from 88.8% to 97.5%. Even using baseline models with the model-augmented data improved the R2 considerably, from 61.6% to 81.9%. Conclusion: The proposed method makes prediction with the most of the available high-quality data by carefully exploiting details, which are not directly relevant for answering the question of the next year's likely expenditure. Clinical and Translational Impact Statement: Public Health- Lack of high-quality source data hinders data-driven analytics-based research in healthcare. The paper presents a method that couples data augmentation and prediction in cases of scant healthcare data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cost prediction
  • Costs
  • Data models
  • Deep learning
  • healthcare data augmentation
  • Medical services
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Predictive models
  • Sleep apnea
  • Transformer
  • Transformers


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