KDD Papers

Dipole: Diagnosis Prediction in Healthcare via Attention-based Bidirectional Recurrent Neural Networks

Fenglong Ma (SUNY Buffalo);Radha Chitta (Conduent);Jing Zhou (Conduent);Quanzeng You (University of Rochester);Tong Sun (United Technologies Research Center);Jing Gao (SUNY Buffalo)


Predicting the future health information of patients from the historical Electronic Health Records (EHR) is a core research task in the development of personalized healthcare. Patient EHR data consist of sequences of visits over time, where each visit contains multiple medical codes, including diagnosis, medication, and procedure codes. The most important challenges for this task are to model the temporality and high dimensionality of sequential EHR data and to interpret the prediction results. Existing work solves this problem by employing recurrent neural networks (RNNs) to model EHR data and utilizing simple attention mechanism to interpret the results. However, RNN-based approaches suffer from the problem that the performance of RNN drops when the size of sequences is large, and the relationships between subsequent visits are ignored by current RNN-based approaches. To address these issues, we propose Dipole, an end-to-end, simple and robust model for predicting patients’ future health information. Dipole employs bidirectional recurrent neural networks to remember all the information of both the past visits and the future visits, and it introduces three attention mechanisms to measure the relationships of different visits for the prediction. With the attention mechanisms, Dipole can interpret the prediction results efficiently. Dipole also allows us to interpret the learned medical code representations, which are confirmed positively by medical experts. Experimental results on two real world EHR datasets show that the proposed Dipole can significantly improve the prediction accuracy compared with the state-of-the-art diagnosis prediction approaches and provide clinically meaningful interpretation.