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Learning temporal weights of clinical events using variable importance
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2016 (English)In: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, ISSN 1472-6947, E-ISSN 1472-6947, Vol. 16, no Suppl. 2, 71Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Longitudinal data sources, such as electronic health records (EHRs), are very valuable for monitoring adverse drug events (ADEs). However, ADEs are heavily under-reported in EHRs. Using machine learning algorithms to automatically detect patients that should have had ADEs reported in their health records is an efficient and effective solution. One of the challenges to that end is how to take into account the temporality of clinical events, which are time stamped in EHRs, and providing these as features for machine learning algorithms to exploit. Previous research on this topic suggests that representing EHR data as a bag of temporally weighted clinical events is promising; however, the weights were in that case pre-assigned according to their time stamps, which is limited and potentially less accurate. This study therefore focuses on how to learn weights that effectively take into account the temporality and importance of clinical events for ADE detection. Methods: Variable importance obtained from the random forest learning algorithm is used for extracting temporal weights. Two strategies are proposed for applying the learned weights: weighted aggregation and weighted sampling. The first strategy aggregates the weighted clinical events from different time windows to form new features; the second strategy retains the original features but samples them by using their weights as probabilities when building each tree in the forest. The predictive performance of random forest models using the learned weights with the two strategies is compared to using pre-assigned weights. In addition, to assess the sensitivity of the weight-learning procedure, weights from different granularity levels are evaluated and compared. Results: In the weighted sampling strategy, using learned weights significantly improves the predictive performance, in comparison to using pre-assigned weights; however, there is no significant difference between them in the weighted aggregation strategy. Moreover, the granularity of the weight learning procedure has a significant impact on the former, but not on the latter. Conclusions: Learning temporal weights is significantly beneficial in terms of predictive performance with the weighted sampling strategy. Moreover, weighted aggregation generally diminishes the impact of temporal weighting of the clinical events, irrespective of whether the weights are pre-assigned or learned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 16, no Suppl. 2, 71
Keyword [en]
Learning weights, Temporality, Adverse drug events, Electronic health records, Machine learning, Random forest, Pharmacovigilance
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136593DOI: 10.1186/s12911-016-0311-6OAI: diva2:1055458
IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine 2015, Washington, DC, USA, 9–12 November 2015
Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2017-01-23Bibliographically approved
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Zhao, JingHenriksson, Aron
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