Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In JMIR formative research

BACKGROUND : Collaborative privacy-preserving training methods allow for the integration of locally stored private data sets into machine learning approaches while ensuring confidentiality and nondisclosure.

OBJECTIVE : In this work we assess the performance of a state-of-the-art neural network approach for the detection of protected health information in texts trained in a collaborative privacy-preserving way.

METHODS : The training adopts distributed selective stochastic gradient descent (ie, it works by exchanging local learning results achieved on private data sets). Five networks were trained on separated real-world clinical data sets by using the privacy-protecting protocol. In total, the data sets contain 1304 real longitudinal patient records for 296 patients.

RESULTS : These networks reached a mean F1 value of 0.955. The gold standard centralized training that is based on the union of all sets and does not take data security into consideration reaches a final value of 0.962.

CONCLUSIONS : Using real-world clinical data, our study shows that detection of protected health information can be secured by collaborative privacy-preserving training. In general, the approach shows the feasibility of deep learning on distributed and confidential clinical data while ensuring data protection.

Festag Sven, Spreckelsen Cord


distributed machine learning, health informatics, neural networks, privacy-preserving protocols