Multimorbidity as a predictor of health service utilization in primary care: a registry-based study of the Catalan population

Published: February 17, 2020
Category: Bibliography
Authors: D. Monterde, E. Vela, J. Roca, L. Garcia-Eroles, M. Clèries, P. Pérez-Sust
Countries: Spain
Language: English
Types: Population Health
Settings: Health Plan



Multimorbidity is highly relevant for both service commissioning and clinical decision-making. Optimization of variables assessing multimorbidity in order to enhance chronic care management is an unmet need. To this end, we have explored the contribution of multimorbidity to predict use of healthcare resources at community level by comparing the predictive power of four different multimorbidity measures.


A population health study including all citizens ≥18 years (n = 6,102,595) living in Catalonia (ES) on 31 December 2014 was done using registry data. Primary care service utilization during 2015 was evaluated through four outcome variables: A) Frequent attendants, B) Home care users, C) Social worker users, and, D) Polypharmacy. Prediction of the four outcome variables (A to D) was carried out with and without multimorbidity assessment. We compared the contributions to model fitting of the following multimorbidity measures: i) Charlson index; ii) Number of chronic diseases; iii) Clinical Risk Groups (CRG); and iv) Adjusted Morbidity Groups (GMA).


The discrimination of the models (AUC) increased by including multimorbidity as covariate into the models, namely: A) Frequent attendants (0.771 vs 0.853), B) Home care users (0.862 vs 0.890), C) Social worker users (0.809 vs 0.872), and, D) Polypharmacy (0.835 vs 0.912). GMA showed the highest predictive power for all outcomes except for polypharmacy where it was slightly below than CRG.


We confirmed that multimorbidity assessment enhanced prediction of use of healthcare resources at community level. The Catalan population-based risk assessment tool based on GMA presented the best combination of predictive power and applicability.

Polypharmacy, Catalonia, GMA, discrimination of the models, AUC

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