Hierarchical Bayesian nonparametric models for knowledge discovery from electronic medical records

Cheng Li, Santu Rana, Dinh Phung, Svetha Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Electronic Medical Record (EMR) has established itself as a valuable resource for large scale analysis of health data. A hospital EMR dataset typically consists of medical records of hospitalized patients. A medical record contains diagnostic information (diagnosis codes), procedures performed (procedure codes) and admission details. Traditional topic models, such as latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) and hierarchical Dirichlet process (HDP), can be employed to discover disease topics from EMR data by treating patients as documents and diagnosis codes as words. This topic modeling helps to understand the constitution of patient diseases and offers a tool for better planning of treatment. In this paper, we propose a novel and flexible hierarchical Bayesian nonparametric model, the word distance dependent Chinese restaurant franchise (wddCRF), which incorporates word-to-word distances to discover semantically-coherent disease topics. We are motivated by the fact that diagnosis codes are connected in the form of ICD-10 tree structure which presents semantic relationships between codes. We exploit a decay function to incorporate distances between words at the bottom level of wddCRF. Efficient inference is derived for the wddCRF by using MCMC technique. Furthermore, since procedure codes are often correlated with diagnosis codes, we develop the correspondence wddCRF (Corr-wddCRF) to explore conditional relationships of procedure codes for a given disease pattern. Efficient collapsed Gibbs sampling is derived for the Corr-wddCRF. We evaluate the proposed models on two real-world medical datasets - PolyVascular disease and Acute Myocardial Infarction disease. We demonstrate that the Corr-wddCRF model discovers more coherent topics than the Corr-HDP. We also use disease topic proportions as new features and show that using features from the Corr-wddCRF outperforms the baselines on 14-days readmission prediction. Beside these, the prediction for procedure codes based on the Corr-wddCRF also shows considerable accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-182
Number of pages15
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian nonparametric models
  • Correspondence models
  • Disease topics
  • Procedure codes prediction
  • Readmission prediction
  • Word distances

Cite this