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Reinforcement Learning in Healthcare: A Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

As a subfield of machine learning, \emph{reinforcement learning} (RL) aims at empowering one's capabilities in behavioural decision making by using interaction experience with the world and an evaluative feedback. Unlike traditional supervised learning methods that usually rely on one-shot, exhaustive and supervised reward signals, RL tackles with sequential decision making problems with sampled, evaluative and delayed feedback simultaneously. Such distinctive features make RL technique a suitable candidate for developing powerful solutions in a variety of healthcare domains, where diagnosing decisions or treatment regimes are usually characterized by a prolonged and sequential procedure. This survey will discuss the broad applications of RL techniques in healthcare domains, in order to provide the research community with systematic understanding of theoretical foundations, enabling methods and techniques, existing challenges, and new insights of this emerging paradigm. By first briefly examining theoretical foundations and key techniques in RL research from efficient and representational directions, we then provide an overview of RL applications in a variety of healthcare domains, ranging from dynamic treatment regimes in chronic diseases and critical care, automated medical diagnosis from both unstructured and structured clinical data, as well as many other control or scheduling domains that have infiltrated many aspects of a healthcare system. Finally, we summarize the challenges and open issues in current research, and point out some potential solutions and directions for future research.


Identifiable Phenotyping using Constrained Non-Negative Matrix Factorization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

This work proposes a new algorithm for automated and simultaneous phenotyping of multiple co-occurring medical conditions, also referred as comorbidities, using clinical notes from the electronic health records (EHRs). A basic latent factor estimation technique of non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) is augmented with domain specific constraints to obtain sparse latent factors that are anchored to a fixed set of chronic conditions. The proposed anchoring mechanism ensures a one-to-one identifiable and interpretable mapping between the latent factors and the target comorbidities. Qualitative assessment of the empirical results by clinical experts suggests that the proposed model learns clinically interpretable phenotypes while being predictive of 30 day mortality. The proposed method can be readily adapted to any non-negative EHR data across various healthcare institutions.


Health State Estimation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Life's most valuable asset is health. Continuously understanding the state of our health and modeling how it evolves is essential if we wish to improve it. Given the opportunity that people live with more data about their life today than any other time in history, the challenge rests in interweaving this data with the growing body of knowledge to compute and model the health state of an individual continually. This dissertation presents an approach to build a personal model and dynamically estimate the health state of an individual by fusing multi-modal data and domain knowledge. The system is stitched together from four essential abstraction elements: 1. the events in our life, 2. the layers of our biological systems (from molecular to an organism), 3. the functional utilities that arise from biological underpinnings, and 4. how we interact with these utilities in the reality of daily life. Connecting these four elements via graph network blocks forms the backbone by which we instantiate a digital twin of an individual. Edges and nodes in this graph structure are then regularly updated with learning techniques as data is continuously digested. Experiments demonstrate the use of dense and heterogeneous real-world data from a variety of personal and environmental sensors to monitor individual cardiovascular health state. State estimation and individual modeling is the fundamental basis to depart from disease-oriented approaches to a total health continuum paradigm. Precision in predicting health requires understanding state trajectory. By encasing this estimation within a navigational approach, a systematic guidance framework can plan actions to transition a current state towards a desired one. This work concludes by presenting this framework of combining the health state and personal graph model to perpetually plan and assist us in living life towards our goals.


Biomedical Document Clustering and Visualization based on the Concepts of Diseases

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Document clustering is a text mining technique used to provide better document search and browsing in digital libraries or online corpora. A lot of research has been done on biomedical document clustering that is based on using existing ontology. But, associations and co-occurrences of the medical concepts are not well represented by using ontology. In this research, a vector representation of concepts of diseases and similarity measurement between concepts are proposed. They identify the closest concepts of diseases in the context of a corpus. Each document is represented by using the vector space model. A weight scheme is proposed to consider both local content and associations between concepts. A Self-Organizing Map is used as document clustering algorithm. The vector projection and visualization features of SOM enable visualization and analysis of the clusters distributions and relationships on the two dimensional space. The experimental results show that the proposed document clustering framework generates meaningful clusters and facilitate visualization of the clusters based on the concepts of diseases.