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A Case Study of Stochastic Optimization in Health Policy: Problem Formulation and Preliminary Results

By David Draper and Dimitris Fouskakis


Abstract. We use Bayesian decision theory to address a variable selection problem arising in attempts to indirectly measure the quality of hospital care, by comparing observed mortality rates to expected values based on patient sickness at admission. Our method weighs data collection costs against predictive accuracy to find an optimal subset of the available admission sickness variables. The approach involves maximizing expected utility across possible subsets, using Monte Carlo methods based on random division of the available data into N modeling and validation splits to approximate the expectation. After exploring the geometry of the solution space, we compare a variety of stochastic optimization methods — including genetic algorithms (GA), simulated annealing (SA), tabu search (TS), threshold acceptance (TA), and messy simulated annealing (MSA) — on their performance in finding good subsets of variables, and we clarify the role of N in the optimization. Preliminary results indicate that TS is somewhat better than TA and SA in this problem, with MSA and GA well behind the other three methods. Sensitivity analysis reveals broad stability of our conclusions

Topics: Key words, Bayesian decision theory, Cross-validation, Genetic algorithm, Input-output analysis, Logistic regression, Maximization of expected utility, Messy simulated annealing, Monte Carlo methods, Prediction, Quality of health care, Sickness at hospital admission, Simulated annealing, Tabu search, Threshold acceptance, Variable selection
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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