Predicting Workplace Violence in the Emergency Department Based on Electronic Health Record Data

Published:March 14, 2023DOI:



      Emergency departments are extremely vulnerable to workplace violence, and emergency nurses are frequently exposed to workplace violence. We developed workplace violence prediction models using machine learning methods based on data from electronic health records.


      This study was conducted using electronic health record data collected between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2021. Workplace violence cases were identified based on violence-related mentions in nursing records. Workplace violence was predicted using various factors related to emergency department visit and stay.


      The dataset included 1215 workplace violence cases and 6044 nonviolence cases. Random Forest showed the best performance among the algorithms adopted in this study. Workplace violence was predicted with higher accuracy when both ED visit and ED stay factors were used as predictors (0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.898-0.912) than when only ED visit factors were used. When both ED visit and ED stay factors were included for prediction, the strongest predictor of risk of WPV was patient dissatisfaction, followed by high average daily length of stay, high daily number of patients, and symptoms of psychiatric disorders.


      This study showed that workplace violence could be predicted with previous data regarding ED visits and stays documented in electronic health records. Timely prediction and mitigation of workplace violence could improve the safety of emergency nurses and the quality of nursing care. To prevent workplace violence, emergency nurses must recognize and continuously observe the risk factors for workplace violence from admission to discharge.

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      Hyungbok Lee is an emergency nurse, Emergency Nursing Department, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea; and is a student, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


      Heeje Yun is an emergency nurse, Emergency Nursing Department, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


      Minjin Choi is a unit manager, Emergency Nursing Department, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


      Hyeoneui Kim is an associate professor, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; and an affiliated researcher, The Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.