BACKGROUND: The QCovid algorithm is a risk prediction tool that can be used to stratify individuals by risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and mortality. Version 1 of the algorithm was trained using data covering 10.5 million patients in England in the period 24 January 2020 to 30 April 2020. We carried out an external validation of version 1 of the QCovid algorithm in Scotland.

METHODS: We established a national COVID-19 data platform using individual level data for the population of Scotland (5.4 million residents). Primary care data were linked to reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) virology testing, hospitalisation and mortality data. We assessed the performance of the QCovid algorithm in predicting COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths in our dataset for two time periods matching the original study: 1 March 2020 to 30 April 2020, and 1 May 2020 to 30 June 2020.

RESULTS: Our dataset comprised 5 384 819 individuals, representing 99% of the estimated population (5 463 300) resident in Scotland in 2020. The algorithm showed good calibration in the first period, but systematic overestimation of risk in the second period, prior to temporal recalibration. Harrell's C for deaths in females and males in the first period was 0.95 (95% CI 0.94 to 0.95) and 0.93 (95% CI 0.92 to 0.93), respectively. Harrell's C for hospitalisations in females and males in the first period was 0.81 (95% CI 0.80 to 0.82) and 0.82 (95% CI 0.81 to 0.82), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Version 1 of the QCovid algorithm showed high levels of discrimination in predicting the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths in adults resident in Scotland for the original two time periods studied, but is likely to need ongoing recalibration prospectively.


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/'>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/'>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Cite as

Simpson, C., Robertson, C., Kerr, S., Shi, T., Vasileiou, E., Moore, E., McCowan, C., Agrawal, U., Docherty, A., Mulholland, R., Murray, J., Ritchie, L., McMenamin, J., Hippisley-Cox, J. & Sheikh, A. 2021, 'External validation of the QCovid risk prediction algorithm for risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and mortality in adults: national validation cohort study in Scotland', Thorax, 77(5), pp. 497-504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-217580

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Last updated: 24 September 2022
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