State-of-the-art information extraction methods are limited by OCR errors. They work well for printed text in form-like documents, but unstructured, handwritten documents still remain a challenge. Adapting existing models to domain-specific training data is quite expensive, because of two factors, 1) limited availability of the domain-specific documents (such as handwritten prescriptions, lab notes, etc.), and 2) annotations become even more challenging as one needs domain-specific knowledge to decode inscrutable handwritten document images. In this work, we focus on the complex problem of extracting medicine names from handwritten prescriptions using only weakly labeled data. The data consists of images along with the list of medicine names in it, but not their location in the image. We solve the problem by first identifying the regions of interest, i.e., medicine lines from just weak labels and then injecting a domain-specific medicine language model learned using only synthetically generated data. Compared to off-the-shelf state-of-the-art methods, our approach performs >2.5x better in medicine names extraction from prescriptions.
Deriving interpretable prognostic features from deep-learning-based prognostic histopathology models remains a challenge. In this study, we developed a deep learning system (DLS) for predicting disease specific survival for stage II and III colorectal cancer using 3,652 cases (27,300 slides). When evaluated on two validation datasets containing 1,239 cases (9,340 slides) and 738 cases (7,140 slides) respectively, the DLS achieved a 5-year disease-specific survival AUC of 0.70 (95%CI 0.66-0.73) and 0.69 (95%CI 0.64-0.72), and added significant predictive value to a set of 9 clinicopathologic features. To interpret the DLS, we explored the ability of different human-interpretable features to explain the variance in DLS scores. We observed that clinicopathologic features such as T-category, N-category, and grade explained a small fraction of the variance in DLS scores (R2=18% in both validation sets). Next, we generated human-interpretable histologic features by clustering embeddings from a deep-learning based image-similarity model and showed that they explain the majority of the variance (R2 of 73% to 80%). Furthermore, the clustering-derived feature most strongly associated with high DLS scores was also highly prognostic in isolation. With a distinct visual appearance (poorly differentiated tumor cell clusters adjacent to adipose tissue), this feature was identified by annotators with 87.0-95.5% accuracy. Our approach can be used to explain predictions from a prognostic deep learning model and uncover potentially-novel prognostic features that can be reliably identified by people for future validation studies.
The increasing availability of large institutional and public histopathology image datasets is enabling the searching of these datasets for diagnosis, research, and education. Though these datasets typically have associated metadata such as diagnosis or clinical notes, even carefully curated datasets rarely contain annotations of the location of regions of interest on each image. Because pathology images are extremely large (up to 100,000 pixels in each dimension), further laborious visual search of each image may be needed to find the feature of interest. In this paper, we introduce a deep learning based reverse image search tool for histopathology images: Similar Medical Images Like Yours (SMILY). We assessed SMILY's ability to retrieve search results in two ways: using pathologist-provided annotations, and via prospective studies where pathologists evaluated the quality of SMILY search results. As a negative control in the second evaluation, pathologists were blinded to whether search results were retrieved by SMILY or randomly. In both types of assessments, SMILY was able to retrieve search results with similar histologic features, organ site, and prostate cancer Gleason grade compared with the original query. SMILY may be a useful general-purpose tool in the pathologist's arsenal, to improve the efficiency of searching large archives of histopathology images, without the need to develop and implement specific tools for each application.