Stabilized sparse ordinal regression for medical risk stratification

Truyen Tran, Dinh Phung, Wei Luo, Svetha Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The recent wide adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) presents great opportunities and challenges for data mining. The EMR data are largely temporal, often noisy, irregular and high dimensional. This paper constructs a novel ordinal regression framework for predicting medical risk stratification from EMR. First, a conceptual view of EMR as a temporal image is constructed to extract a diverse set of features. Second, ordinal modeling is applied for predicting cumulative or progressive risk. The challenges are building a transparent predictive model that works with a large number of weakly predictive features, and at the same time, is stable against resampling variations. Our solution employs sparsity methods that are stabilized through domain-specific feature interaction networks. We introduces two indices that measure the model stability against data resampling. Feature networks are used to generate two multivariate Gaussian priors with sparse precision matrices (the Laplacian and Random Walk). We apply the framework on a large short-term suicide risk prediction problem and demonstrate that our methods outperform clinicians to a large margin, discover suicide risk factors that conform with mental health knowledge, and produce models with enhanced stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-582
Number of pages28
JournalKnowledge and Information Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic medical record
  • Feature graph
  • Medical risk stratification
  • Sparse ordinal regression
  • Stability

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