Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Methods to Characterize Unstructured Patient-Reported Outcomes: Validation Study

Title

Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Methods to Characterize Unstructured Patient-Reported Outcomes: Validation Study

Creator

Lu Z; Sim J; Wang JX; Forrest CB; Krull KR; Srivastava D; Hudson MM; Robison LL; Baker JN; Huang I-C

Identifier

Publisher

Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date

2021

Subject

machine learning; pediatric oncology; Patient reported outcomes; natural language processing; PROs

Description

Background: Assessing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) through interviews or conversations during clinical encounters provides insightful information about survivorship. Objective: This study aims to test the validity of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms in identifying different attributes of pain interference and fatigue symptoms experienced by child and adolescent survivors of cancer versus the judgment by PRO content experts as the gold standard to validate NLP/ML algorithms. Methods: This cross-sectional study focused on child and adolescent survivors of cancer, aged 8 to 17 years, and caregivers, from whom 391 meaning units in the pain interference domain and 423 in the fatigue domain were generated for analyses. Data were collected from the After Completion of Therapy Clinic at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Experienced pain interference and fatigue symptoms were reported through in-depth interviews. After verbatim transcription, analyzable sentences (ie, meaning units) were semantically labeled by 2 content experts for each attribute (physical, cognitive, social, or unclassified). Two NLP/ML methods were used to extract and validate the semantic features: bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT) and Word2vec plus one of the ML methods, the support vector machine or extreme gradient boosting. Receiver operating characteristic and precision-recall curves were used to evaluate the accuracy and validity of the NLP/ML methods. Results: Compared with Word2vec/support vector machine and Word2vec/extreme gradient boosting, BERT demonstrated higher accuracy in both symptom domains, with 0.931 (95% CI 0.905-0.957) and 0.916 (95% CI 0.887-0.941) for problems with cognitive and social attributes on pain interference, respectively, and 0.929 (95% CI 0.903-0.953) and 0.917 (95% CI 0.891-0.943) for problems with cognitive and social attributes on fatigue, respectively. In addition, BERT yielded superior areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve for cognitive attributes on pain interference and fatigue domains (0.923, 95% CI 0.879-0.997; 0.948, 95% CI 0.922-0.979) and superior areas under the precision-recall curve for cognitive attributes on pain interference and fatigue domains (0.818, 95% CI 0.735-0.917; 0.855, 95% CI 0.791-0.930). Conclusions: The BERT method performed better than the other methods. As an alternative to using standard PRO surveys, collecting unstructured PROs via interviews or conversations during clinical encounters and applying NLP/ML methods can facilitate PRO assessment in child and adolescent cancer survivors.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

January 2022 List

Collection

Citation

Lu Z; Sim J; Wang JX; Forrest CB; Krull KR; Srivastava D; Hudson MM; Robison LL; Baker JN; Huang I-C, “Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Methods to Characterize Unstructured Patient-Reported Outcomes: Validation Study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 22, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17760.

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