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Predicting Disease Progression with a Model for Multivariate Longitudinal Clinical Data

Joseph Futoma, Mark Sendak, Blake Cameron, Katherine Heller
Proceedings of the 1st Machine Learning for Healthcare Conference, pp. 42–54, 2016


Accurate prediction of the future trajectory of a disease is an important challenge in personalized medicine and population health management. However, many complex chronic diseases exhibit large degrees of heterogeneity, and furthermore there is not always a single readily available biomarker to quantify disease severity. Even when such a clinical variable exists, there are often additional related biomarkers that may help improve prediction of future disease state. To this end, we propose a novel probabilistic generative model for multivariate longitudinal data that captures dependencies between multivariate trajectories of clinical variables. We use a Gaussian process based regression model for each individual trajectory, and build off ideas from latent class models to induce dependence between their mean functions. We develop a scalable variational inference algorithm that we use to fit our model to a large dataset of longitudinal electronic patient health records. Our model’s dynamic predictions have significantly lower errors compared to a recent state of the art method for modeling disease trajectories, and they are being incorporated into a population health rounding tool to be used by clinicians at our local accountable care organization.

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