Machine Learning and Clinical Text. Supporting Health Information Flow

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Machine Learning and Clinical Text. Supporting Health Information Flow

TUCS125Suominen.pdf (Turun yliopisto - Doria)
Errata.pdf (Turun yliopisto - Doria)

Fluent health information flow is critical for clinical decision-making. However, a considerable part of this information is free-form text and inabilities to utilize it create risks to patient safety and cost-­effective hospital administration. Methods for automated processing of clinical text are emerging. The aim in this doctoral dissertation is to study machine learning and clinical text in order to support health information flow.First, by analyzing the content of authentic patient records, the aim is to specify clinical needs in order to guide the development of machine learning applications.The contributions are a model of the ideal information flow,a model of the problems and challenges in reality, and a road map for the technology development. Second, by developing applications for practical cases,the aim is to concretize ways to support health information flow. Altogether five machine learning applications for three practical cases are described: The first two applications are binary classification and regression related to the practical case of topic labeling and relevance ranking.The third and fourth application are supervised and unsupervised multi-class classification for the practical case of topic segmentation and labeling.These four applications are tested with Finnish intensive care patient records.The fifth application is multi-label classification for the practical task of diagnosis coding. It is tested with English radiology reports.The performance of all these applications is promising. Third, the aim is to study how the quality of machine learning applications can be reliably evaluated.The associations between performance evaluation measures and methods are addressed,and a new hold-out method is introduced.This method contributes not only to processing time but also to the evaluation diversity and quality. The main conclusion is that developing machine learning applications for text requires interdisciplinary, international collaboration. Practical cases are very different, and hence the development must begin from genuine user needs and domain expertise. The technological expertise must cover linguistics,machine learning, and information systems. Finally, the methods must be evaluated both statistically and through authentic user-feedback.

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