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Collaborating Authors

Peng, Xuefeng


Improving Sepsis Treatment Strategies by Combining Deep and Kernel-Based Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Sepsis is the leading cause of mortality in the ICU. It is challenging to manage because individual patients respond differently to treatment. Thus, tailoring treatment to the individual patient is essential for the best outcomes. In this paper, we take steps toward this goal by applying a mixture-of-experts framework to personalize sepsis treatment. The mixture model selectively alternates between neighbor-based (kernel) and deep reinforcement learning (DRL) experts depending on patient's current history. On a large retrospective cohort, this mixture-based approach outperforms physician, kernel only, and DRL-only experts.


Evaluating Reinforcement Learning Algorithms in Observational Health Settings

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Much attention has been devoted recently to the development of machine learning algorithms with the goal of improving treatment policies in healthcare. Reinforcement learning (RL) is a sub-field within machine learning that is concerned with learning how to make sequences of decisions so as to optimize long-term effects. Already, RL algorithms have been proposed to identify decision-making strategies for mechanical ventilation, sepsis management and treatment of schizophrenia. However, before implementing treatment policies learned by black-box algorithms in high-stakes clinical decision problems, special care must be taken in the evaluation of these policies. In this document, our goal is to expose some of the subtleties associated with evaluating RL algorithms in healthcare. We aim to provide a conceptual starting point for clinical and computational researchers to ask the right questions when designing and evaluating algorithms for new ways of treating patients. In the following, we describe how choices about how to summarize a history, variance of statistical estimators, and confounders in more ad-hoc measures can result in unreliable, even misleading estimates of the quality of a treatment policy. We also provide suggestions for mitigating these effects---for while there is much promise for mining observational health data to uncover better treatment policies, evaluation must be performed thoughtfully.