Privacy-preserving predictive modeling: Harmonization of contextual embeddings from different sources

Yingxiang Huang, Junghye Lee, Shuang Wang, Jimeng Sun, Hongfang Liu, Xiaoqian Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Data sharing has been a big challenge in biomedical informatics because of privacy concerns. Contextual embedding models have demonstrated a very strong representative capability to describe medical concepts (and their context), and they have shown promise as an alternative way to support deep-learning applications without the need to disclose original data. However, contextual embedding models acquired from individual hospitals cannot be directly combined because their embedding spaces are different, and naive pooling renders combined embeddings useless. Objective: The aim of this study was to present a novel approach to address these issues and to promote sharing representation without sharing data. Without sacrificing privacy, we also aimed to build a global model from representations learned from local private data and synchronize information from multiple sources. Methods: We propose a methodology that harmonizes different local contextual embeddings into a global model. We used Word2Vec to generate contextual embeddings from each source and Procrustes to fuse different vector models into one common space by using a list of corresponding pairs as anchor points. We performed prediction analysis with harmonized embeddings. Results: We used sequential medical events extracted from the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care III database to evaluate the proposed methodology in predicting the next likely diagnosis of a new patient using either structured data or unstructured data. Under different experimental scenarios, we confirmed that the global model built from harmonized local models achieves a more accurate prediction than local models and global models built from naive pooling. Conclusions: Such aggregation of local models using our unique harmonization can serve as the proxy for a global model, combining information from a wide range of institutions and information sources. It allows information unique to a certain hospital to become available to other sites, increasing the fluidity of information flow in health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere33
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Contextual embedding
  • Interoperability
  • Patient data privacy
  • Predictive models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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