Medical Diagnosis From Laboratory Tests by Combining Generative and Discriminative Learning

12 Nov 2017  ·  Shiyue Zhang, Pengtao Xie, Dong Wang, Eric P. Xing ·

A primary goal of computational phenotype research is to conduct medical diagnosis. In hospital, physicians rely on massive clinical data to make diagnosis decisions, among which laboratory tests are one of the most important resources. However, the longitudinal and incomplete nature of laboratory test data casts a significant challenge on its interpretation and usage, which may result in harmful decisions by both human physicians and automatic diagnosis systems. In this work, we take advantage of deep generative models to deal with the complex laboratory tests. Specifically, we propose an end-to-end architecture that involves a deep generative variational recurrent neural networks (VRNN) to learn robust and generalizable features, and a discriminative neural network (NN) model to learn diagnosis decision making, and the two models are trained jointly. Our experiments are conducted on a dataset involving 46,252 patients, and the 50 most frequent tests are used to predict the 50 most common diagnoses. The results show that our model, VRNN+NN, significantly (p<0.001) outperforms other baseline models. Moreover, we demonstrate that the representations learned by the joint training are more informative than those learned by pure generative models. Finally, we find that our model offers a surprisingly good imputation for missing values.

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