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Ontology-driven and weakly supervised rare disease identification from clinical notes

Dong, Hang; Suárez-Paniagua, Víctor; Zhang, Huayu; Wang, Minhong; Casey, Arlene; Davidson, Emma; Chen, Jiaoyan; ... Wu, Honghan; + view all (2023) Ontology-driven and weakly supervised rare disease identification from clinical notes. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making , 23 , Article 86. 10.1186/s12911-023-02181-9. Green open access

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BACKGROUND: Computational text phenotyping is the practice of identifying patients with certain disorders and traits from clinical notes. Rare diseases are challenging to be identified due to few cases available for machine learning and the need for data annotation from domain experts. METHODS: We propose a method using ontologies and weak supervision, with recent pre-trained contextual representations from Bi-directional Transformers (e.g. BERT). The ontology-driven framework includes two steps: (i) Text-to-UMLS, extracting phenotypes by contextually linking mentions to concepts in Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), with a Named Entity Recognition and Linking (NER+L) tool, SemEHR, and weak supervision with customised rules and contextual mention representation; (ii) UMLS-to-ORDO, matching UMLS concepts to rare diseases in Orphanet Rare Disease Ontology (ORDO). The weakly supervised approach is proposed to learn a phenotype confirmation model to improve Text-to-UMLS linking, without annotated data from domain experts. We evaluated the approach on three clinical datasets, MIMIC-III discharge summaries, MIMIC-III radiology reports, and NHS Tayside brain imaging reports from two institutions in the US and the UK, with annotations. RESULTS: The improvements in the precision were pronounced (by over 30% to 50% absolute score for Text-to-UMLS linking), with almost no loss of recall compared to the existing NER+L tool, SemEHR. Results on radiology reports from MIMIC-III and NHS Tayside were consistent with the discharge summaries. The overall pipeline processing clinical notes can extract rare disease cases, mostly uncaptured in structured data (manually assigned ICD codes). CONCLUSION: The study provides empirical evidence for the task by applying a weakly supervised NLP pipeline on clinical notes. The proposed weak supervised deep learning approach requires no human annotation except for validation and testing, by leveraging ontologies, NER+L tools, and contextual representations. The study also demonstrates that Natural Language Processing (NLP) can complement traditional ICD-based approaches to better estimate rare diseases in clinical notes. We discuss the usefulness and limitations of the weak supervision approach and propose directions for future studies.

Type: Article
Title: Ontology-driven and weakly supervised rare disease identification from clinical notes
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12911-023-02181-9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12911-023-02181-9
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Clinical notes, Natural language processing, Ontology matching, Phenotyping, Rare diseases, Weak supervision, Humans, Rare Diseases, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Unified Medical Language System, International Classification of Diseases
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169729
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