Use of artificial intelligence for public health surveillance: a case study to develop a machine Learning-algorithm to estimate the incidence of diabetes mellitus in France

R. Haneef*, S. Kab, R. Hrzic, S. Fuentes, S. Fosse-Edorh, E. Cosson, A. Gallay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background The use of machine learning techniques is increasing in healthcare which allows to estimate and predict health outcomes from large administrative data sets more efficiently. The main objective of this study was to develop a generic machine learning (ML) algorithm to estimate the incidence of diabetes based on the number of reimbursements over the last 2 years. Methods We selected a final data set from a population-based epidemiological cohort (i.e., CONSTANCES) linked with French National Health Database (i.e., SNDS). To develop this algorithm, we adopted a supervised ML approach. Following steps were performed: i. selection of final data set, ii. target definition, iii. Coding variables for a given window of time, iv. split final data into training and test data sets, v. variables selection, vi. training model, vii. Validation of model with test data set and viii. Selection of the model. We used the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) to select the best algorithm. Results The final data set used to develop the algorithm included 44,659 participants from CONSTANCES. Out of 3468 variables from SNDS linked to CONSTANCES cohort were coded, 23 variables were selected to train different algorithms. The final algorithm to estimate the incidence of diabetes was a Linear Discriminant Analysis model based on number of reimbursements of selected variables related to biological tests, drugs, medical acts and hospitalization without a procedure over the last 2 years. This algorithm has a sensitivity of 62%, a specificity of 67% and an accuracy of 67% [95% CI: 0.66-0.68]. Conclusions Supervised ML is an innovative tool for the development of new methods to exploit large health administrative databases. In context of InfAct project, we have developed and applied the first time a generic ML-algorithm to estimate the incidence of diabetes for public health surveillance. The ML-algorithm we have developed, has a moderate performance. The next step is to apply this algorithm on SNDS to estimate the incidence of type 2 diabetes cases. More research is needed to apply various MLTs to estimate the incidence of various health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning technique
  • Supervise learning
  • Health indicator
  • Incidence
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Electronic health records and public health surveillance

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