Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/196835
Authors: 
Ribers, Michael
Ullrich, Hannes
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
DIW Discussion Papers 1803
Abstract: 
Antibiotic resistance constitutes a major health threat. Predicting bacterial causes of infections is key to reducing antibiotic misuse, a leading driver of antibiotic resistance. We train a machine learning algorithm on administrative and microbiological laboratory data from Denmark to predict diagnostic test outcomes for urinary tract infections. Based on predictions, we develop policies to improve prescribing in primary care, highlighting the relevance of physician expertise and policy implementation when patient distributions vary over time. The proposed policies delay antibiotic prescriptions for some patients until test results are known and give them instantly to others. We find that machine learning can reduce antibiotic use by 7.42 percent without reducing the number of treated bacterial infections. As Denmark is one of the most conservative countries in terms of antibiotic use, this result is likely to be a lower bound of what can be achieved elsewhere.
Subjects: 
antibiotic prescribing
prediction policy
machine learning
expert decision-making
JEL: 
C10
C55
I11
I18
L38
O38
Q28
Document Type: 
Working Paper
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