Modern modeling techniques may potentially provide more accurate predictions of dichotomous outcomes than classical techniques.
Objective: In this study, we aimed to examine the predictive performance of eight modeling techniques to predict mortality by frailty.
Methods: We performed a longitudinal study with a 7-year follow-up. The sample consisted of 479 Dutch community-dwelling people, aged 75 years and older. Frailty was assessed with the Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI), a self-report questionnaire. This questionnaire consists of eight physical, four psychological, and three social frailty components. The municipality of Roosendaal, a city in the Netherlands, provided the mortality dates. We compared modeling techniques, such as support vector machine (SVM), neural network (NN), random forest, and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator, as well as classical techniques, such as logistic regression, two Bayesian networks, and recursive partitioning (RP). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) indicated the performance of the models. The models were validated using bootstrapping.
Results: We found that the NN model had the best validated performance (AUROC=0.812), followed by the SVM model (AUROC=0.705). The other models had validated AUROC values below 0.700. The RP model had the lowest validated AUROC (0.605). The NN model had the highest optimism (0.156). The predictor variable “difficulty in walking” was important for all models.
Conclusions: Because of the high optimism of the NN model, we prefer the SVM model for predicting mortality among community-dwelling older people using the TFI, with the addition of “gender” and “age” variables. External validation is a necessary step before applying the prediction models in a new setting.