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In Journal of medical Internet research ; h5-index 88.0

BACKGROUND : Deep learning models have attracted significant interest from health care researchers during the last few decades. There have been many studies that apply deep learning to medical applications and achieve promising results. However, there are three limitations to the existing models: (1) most clinicians are unable to interpret the results from the existing models, (2) existing models cannot incorporate complicated medical domain knowledge (eg, a disease causes another disease), and (3) most existing models lack visual exploration and interaction. Both the electronic health record (EHR) data set and the deep model results are complex and abstract, which impedes clinicians from exploring and communicating with the model directly.

OBJECTIVE : The objective of this study is to develop an interpretable and accurate risk prediction model as well as an interactive clinical prediction system to support EHR data exploration, knowledge graph demonstration, and model interpretation.

METHODS : A domain-knowledge-guided recurrent neural network (DG-RNN) model is proposed to predict clinical risks. The model takes medical event sequences as input and incorporates medical domain knowledge by attending to a subgraph of the whole medical knowledge graph. A global pooling operation and a fully connected layer are used to output the clinical outcomes. The middle results and the parameters of the fully connected layer are helpful in identifying which medical events cause clinical risks. DG-Viz is also designed to support EHR data exploration, knowledge graph demonstration, and model interpretation.

RESULTS : We conducted both risk prediction experiments and a case study on a real-world data set. A total of 554 patients with heart failure and 1662 control patients without heart failure were selected from the data set. The experimental results show that the proposed DG-RNN outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches by approximately 1.5%. The case study demonstrates how our medical physician collaborator can effectively explore the data and interpret the prediction results using DG-Viz.

CONCLUSIONS : In this study, we present DG-Viz, an interactive clinical prediction system, which brings together the power of deep learning (ie, a DG-RNN-based model) and visual analytics to predict clinical risks and visually interpret the EHR prediction results. Experimental results and a case study on heart failure risk prediction tasks demonstrate the effectiveness and usefulness of the DG-Viz system. This study will pave the way for interactive, interpretable, and accurate clinical risk predictions.

Li Rui, Yin Changchang, Yang Samuel, Qian Buyue, Zhang Ping


electronic health records, interpretable deep learning, knowledge graph, visual analytics