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

In JMIR bioinformatics and biotechnology

BACKGROUND : In recent decades, the use of artificial intelligence has been widely explored in health care. Similarly, the amount of data generated in the most varied medical processes has practically doubled every year, requiring new methods of analysis and treatment of these data. Mainly aimed at aiding in the diagnosis and prevention of diseases, this precision medicine has shown great potential in different medical disciplines. Laboratory tests, for example, almost always present their results separately as individual values. However, physicians need to analyze a set of results to propose a supposed diagnosis, which leads us to think that sets of laboratory tests may contain more information than those presented separately for each result. In this way, the processes of medical laboratories can be strongly affected by these techniques.

OBJECTIVE : In this sense, we sought to identify scientific research that used laboratory tests and machine learning techniques to predict hidden information and diagnose diseases.

METHODS : The methodology adopted used the population, intervention, comparison, and outcomes principle, searching the main engineering and health sciences databases. The search terms were defined based on the list of terms used in the Medical Subject Heading database. Data from this study were presented descriptively and followed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses; 2020) statement flow diagram and the National Institutes of Health tool for quality assessment of articles. During the analysis, the inclusion and exclusion criteria were independently applied by 2 authors, with a third author being consulted in cases of disagreement.

RESULTS : Following the defined requirements, 40 studies presenting good quality in the analysis process were selected and evaluated. We found that, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of works that have used this methodology, mainly because of COVID-19. In general, the studies used machine learning classification models to predict new information, and the most used parameters were data from routine laboratory tests such as the complete blood count.

CONCLUSIONS : Finally, we conclude that laboratory tests, together with machine learning techniques, can predict new tests, thus helping the search for new diagnoses. This process has proved to be advantageous and innovative for medical laboratories. It is making it possible to discover hidden information and propose additional tests, reducing the number of false negatives and helping in the early discovery of unknown diseases.

Cardozo Glauco, Tirloni Salvador Francisco, Pereira Moro Antônio Renato, Marques Jefferson Luiz Brum


COVID-19, diagnosis, laboratory tests, machine learning, prediction, review