Multi-label classification of chronically ill patients with bag of words and supervised dimensionality reduction algorithms

Stefano Bromuri*, Damien Zufferey, Jean Hennebert, Michael Schumacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This research is motivated by the issue of classifying illnesses of chronically ill patients for decision support in clinical settings. Our main objective is to propose multi-label classification of multivariate time series contained in medical records of chronically ill patients, by means of quantization methods, such as bag of words (BoW), and multi-label classification algorithms. Our second objective is to compare supervised dimensionality reduction techniques to state-of-the-art multi-label classification algorithms. The hypothesis is that kernel methods and locality preserving projections make such algorithms good candidates to study multi-label medical time series.

METHODS: We combine BoW and supervised dimensionality reduction algorithms to perform multi-label classification on health records of chronically ill patients. The considered algorithms are compared with state-of-the-art multi-label classifiers in two real world datasets. Portavita dataset contains 525 diabetes type 2 (DT2) patients, with co-morbidities of DT2 such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, and microvascular or macrovascular issues. MIMIC II dataset contains 2635 patients affected by thyroid disease, diabetes mellitus, lipoid metabolism disease, fluid electrolyte disease, hypertensive disease, thrombosis, hypotension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver disease and kidney disease. The algorithms are evaluated using multi-label evaluation metrics such as hamming loss, one error, coverage, ranking loss, and average precision.

RESULTS: Non-linear dimensionality reduction approaches behave well on medical time series quantized using the BoW algorithm, with results comparable to state-of-the-art multi-label classification algorithms. Chaining the projected features has a positive impact on the performance of the algorithm with respect to pure binary relevance approaches.

CONCLUSIONS: The evaluation highlights the feasibility of representing medical health records using the BoW for multi-label classification tasks. The study also highlights that dimensionality reduction algorithms based on kernel methods, locality preserving projections or both are good candidates to deal with multi-label classification tasks in medical time series with many missing values and high label density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Early online date29 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Chronic Disease/classification
  • Data Compression/methods
  • Data Mining/methods
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/classification
  • Electronic Health Records/classification
  • Humans
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Vocabulary, Controlled


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