For sharing privacy-sensitive data, de-identification is commonly regarded as adequate for safeguarding privacy. Synthetic data is also being considered as a privacy-preserving alternative. Recent successes with numerical and tabular data generative models and the breakthroughs in large generative language models raise the question of whether synthetically generated clinical notes could be a viable alternative to real notes for research purposes. In this work, we demonstrated that (i) de-identification of real clinical notes does not protect records against a membership inference attack, (ii) proposed a novel approach to generate synthetic clinical notes using the current state-of-the-art large language models, (iii) evaluated the performance of the synthetically generated notes in a clinical domain task, and (iv) proposed a way to mount a membership inference attack where the target model is trained with synthetic data. We observed that when synthetically generated notes closely match the performance of real data, they also exhibit similar privacy concerns to the real data. Whether other approaches to synthetically generated clinical notes could offer better trade-offs and become a better alternative to sensitive real notes warrants further investigation.
This study explored the usability of prompt generation on named entity recognition (NER) tasks and the performance in different settings of the prompt. The prompt generation by GPT-J models was utilized to directly test the gold standard as well as to generate the seed and further fed to the RoBERTa model with the spaCy package. In the direct test, a lower ratio of negative examples with higher numbers of examples in prompt achieved the best results with a F1 score of 0.72. The performance revealed consistency, 0.92-0.97 in the F1 score, in all settings after training with the RoBERTa model. The study highlighted the importance of seed quality rather than quantity in feeding NER models. This research reports on an efficient and accurate way to mine clinical notes for periodontal diagnoses, allowing researchers to easily and quickly build a NER model with the prompt generation approach.
This study aimed to utilize text processing and natural language processing (NLP) models to mine clinical notes for the diagnosis of periodontitis and to evaluate the performance of a named entity recognition (NER) model on different regular expression (RE) methods. Two complexity levels of RE methods were used to extract and generate the training data. The SpaCy package and RoBERTa transformer models were used to build the NER model and evaluate its performance with the manual-labeled gold standards. The comparison of the RE methods with the gold standard showed that as the complexity increased in the RE algorithms, the F1 score increased from 0.3-0.4 to around 0.9. The NER models demonstrated excellent predictions, with the simple RE method showing 0.84-0.92 in the evaluation metrics, and the advanced and combined RE method demonstrating 0.95-0.99 in the evaluation. This study provided an example of the benefit of combining NER methods and NLP models in extracting target information from free-text to structured data and fulfilling the need for missing diagnoses from unstructured notes.
Liver transplantation often faces fairness challenges across subgroups defined by sensitive attributes like age group, gender, and race/ethnicity. Machine learning models for outcome prediction can introduce additional biases. To address these, we introduce Fairness through the Equitable Rate of Improvement in Multitask Learning (FERI) algorithm for fair predictions of graft failure risk in liver transplant patients. FERI constrains subgroup loss by balancing learning rates and preventing subgroup dominance in the training process. Our experiments show that FERI maintains high predictive accuracy with AUROC and AUPRC comparable to baseline models. More importantly, FERI demonstrates an ability to improve fairness without sacrificing accuracy. Specifically, for gender, FERI reduces the demographic parity disparity by 71.74%, and for the age group, it decreases the equalized odds disparity by 40.46%. Therefore, the FERI algorithm advances fairness-aware predictive modeling in healthcare and provides an invaluable tool for equitable healthcare systems.
The exponential growth in scholarly publications necessitates advanced tools for efficient article retrieval, especially in interdisciplinary fields where diverse terminologies are used to describe similar research. Traditional keyword-based search engines often fall short in assisting users who may not be familiar with specific terminologies. To address this, we present a knowledge graph-based paper search engine for biomedical research to enhance the user experience in discovering relevant queries and articles. The system, dubbed DiscoverPath, employs Named Entity Recognition (NER) and part-of-speech (POS) tagging to extract terminologies and relationships from article abstracts to create a KG. To reduce information overload, DiscoverPath presents users with a focused subgraph containing the queried entity and its neighboring nodes and incorporates a query recommendation system, enabling users to iteratively refine their queries. The system is equipped with an accessible Graphical User Interface that provides an intuitive visualization of the KG, query recommendations, and detailed article information, enabling efficient article retrieval, thus fostering interdisciplinary knowledge exploration. DiscoverPath is open-sourced at https://github.com/ynchuang/DiscoverPath.
Deep learning continues to rapidly evolve and is now demonstrating remarkable potential for numerous medical prediction tasks. However, realizing deep learning models that generalize across healthcare organizations is challenging. This is due, in part, to the inherent siloed nature of these organizations and patient privacy requirements. To address this problem, we illustrate how split learning can enable collaborative training of deep learning models across disparate and privately maintained health datasets, while keeping the original records and model parameters private. We introduce a new privacy-preserving distributed learning framework that offers a higher level of privacy compared to conventional federated learning. We use several biomedical imaging and electronic health record (EHR) datasets to show that deep learning models trained via split learning can achieve highly similar performance to their centralized and federated counterparts while greatly improving computational efficiency and reducing privacy risks.
Learning about diagnostic features and related clinical information from dental radiographs is important for dental research. However, the lack of expert-annotated data and convenient search tools poses challenges. Our primary objective is to design a search tool that uses a user's query for oral-related research. The proposed framework, Contrastive LAnguage Image REtrieval Search for dental research, Dental CLAIRES, utilizes periapical radiographs and associated clinical details such as periodontal diagnosis, demographic information to retrieve the best-matched images based on the text query. We applied a contrastive representation learning method to find images described by the user's text by maximizing the similarity score of positive pairs (true pairs) and minimizing the score of negative pairs (random pairs). Our model achieved a hit@3 ratio of 96% and a Mean Reciprocal Rank (MRR) of 0.82. We also designed a graphical user interface that allows researchers to verify the model's performance with interactions.
In the era of big data, there is an increasing need for healthcare providers, communities, and researchers to share data and collaborate to improve health outcomes, generate valuable insights, and advance research. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to protect sensitive health information by defining regulations for protected health information (PHI). However, it does not provide efficient tools for detecting or removing PHI before data sharing. One of the challenges in this area of research is the heterogeneous nature of PHI fields in data across different parties. This variability makes rule-based sensitive variable identification systems that work on one database fail on another. To address this issue, our paper explores the use of machine learning algorithms to identify sensitive variables in structured data, thus facilitating the de-identification process. We made a key observation that the distributions of metadata of PHI fields and non-PHI fields are very different. Based on this novel finding, we engineered over 30 features from the metadata of the original features and used machine learning to build classification models to automatically identify PHI fields in structured Electronic Health Record (EHR) data. We trained the model on a variety of large EHR databases from different data sources and found that our algorithm achieves 99% accuracy when detecting PHI-related fields for unseen datasets. The implications of our study are significant and can benefit industries that handle sensitive data.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease developed in human brain and spinal cord, which can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. The severity of MS disease is monitored by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), composed of several functional sub-scores. Early and accurate classification of MS disease severity is critical for slowing down or preventing disease progression via applying early therapeutic intervention strategies. Recent advances in deep learning and the wide use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) creates opportunities to apply data-driven and predictive modeling tools for this goal. Previous studies focusing on using single-modal machine learning and deep learning algorithms were limited in terms of prediction accuracy due to the data insufficiency or model simplicity. In this paper, we proposed an idea of using patients' multimodal longitudinal and longitudinal EHR data to predict multiple sclerosis disease severity at the hospital visit. This work has two important contributions. First, we describe a pilot effort to leverage structured EHR data, neuroimaging data and clinical notes to build a multi-modal deep learning framework to predict patient's MS disease severity. The proposed pipeline demonstrates up to 25% increase in terms of the area under the Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUROC) compared to models using single-modal data. Second, the study also provides insights regarding the amount useful signal embedded in each data modality with respect to MS disease prediction, which may improve data collection processes.
Liver transplantation is a life-saving procedure for patients with end-stage liver disease. There are two main challenges in liver transplant: finding the best matching patient for a donor and ensuring transplant equity among different subpopulations. The current MELD scoring system evaluates a patient's mortality risk if not receiving an organ within 90 days. However, the donor-patient matching should also take into consideration post-transplant risk factors, such as cardiovascular disease, chronic rejection, etc., which are all common complications after transplant. Accurate prediction of these risk scores remains a significant challenge. In this study, we will use predictive models to solve the above challenge. We propose a deep learning framework model to predict multiple risk factors after a liver transplant. By formulating it as a multi-task learning problem, the proposed deep neural network was trained on this data to simultaneously predict the five post-transplant risks and achieve equally good performance by leveraging task balancing techniques. We also propose a novel fairness achieving algorithm and to ensure prediction fairness across different subpopulations. We used electronic health records of 160,360 liver transplant patients, including demographic information, clinical variables, and laboratory values, collected from the liver transplant records of the United States from 1987 to 2018. The performance of the model was evaluated using various performance metrics such as AUROC, AURPC, and accuracy. The results of our experiments demonstrate that the proposed multitask prediction model achieved high accuracy and good balance in predicting all five post-transplant risk factors, with a maximum accuracy discrepancy of only 2.7%. The fairness-achieving algorithm significantly reduced the fairness disparity compared to the baseline model.