Morbidity trajectories as predictors of utilization: Multi-year disease patterns in taiwan's national health insurance program

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18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Little is known about how morbidity levels progress over time and the implications of these morbidity trajectories for healthcare utilization. OBJECTIVES: To identify and compare characteristics of people in different morbidity trajectories and to evaluate how morbidity trajectories impact the performance of diagnostic risk-adjustment models. RESEARCH DESIGN: Morbidity trajectories were derived from 3-year (2002 to 2004) of claims from a national insurance system. These trajectories, with or without 2004 claims-based risk adjusters developed from the Adjusted Clinical Group case-mix system, were used to explain medical utilization in 2005. SUBJECTS: A random sample of Taiwanese National Health Insurance beneficiaries continuously enrolled from 2002 to 2005 (n=147,892). MEASURES: Adjusted R of 5 types of healthcare expenditures. RESULTS: On the basis of naturally occurring patterns, we identified 6 morbidity trajectory groups. People assigned to different trajectory groups have distinct demographics and medical utilization. The effect of adding morbidity trajectory indicators differed substantially by the comprehensiveness of baseline risk-adjustment models: the increase in adjusted R ranged from 0.3% in the most comprehensive model to 5.7% in the demographics model. CONCLUSIONS: A simple morbidity trajectory classification over a 3-year period is almost as powerful a predictor of prospective medical utilization as more comprehensive baseline risk adjusters. It may be unnecessary to construct longitudinal morbidity trajectories if a comprehensive baseline model was adopted, especially for healthcare systems without the stability of continuous enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-923
Number of pages6
JournalMedical care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Taiwan's national health insurance
  • adjusted clinical group (ACG)
  • longitudinal morbidity trajectories
  • predictive modeling
  • risk adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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