Retrieving Medical Records Using Bayesian Networks

Retrieving Medical Records Using Bayesian Networks

Luis M. De Campos (Universidad de Granada, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch172
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Bayesian networks (Jensen, 2001) are powerful tools for dealing with uncertainty. They have been successfully applied in a wide range of domains where this property is an important feature, as in the case of information retrieval (IR) (Turtle & Croft, 1991). This field (Baeza-Yates & Ribeiro- Neto, 1999) is concerned with the representation, storage, organization, and accessing of information items (the textual representation of any kind of object). Uncertainty is also present in this field, and, consequently, several approaches based on these probabilistic graphical models have been designed in an attempt to represent documents and their contents (expressed by means of indexed terms), and the relationships between them, so as to retrieve as many relevant documents as possible, given a query submitted by a user. Classic IR has evolved from flat documents (i.e., texts that do not have any kind of structure relating their contents) with all the indexing terms directly assigned to the document itself toward structured information retrieval (SIR) (Chiaramella, 2001), where the structure or the hierarchy of contents of a document is taken into account. For instance, a book can be divided into chapters, each chapter into sections, each section into paragraphs, and so on. Terms could be assigned to any of the parts where they occur. New standards, such as SGML or XML, have been developed to represent this type of document. Bayesian network models also have been extended to deal with this new kind of document. In this article, a structured information retrieval application in the domain of a pathological anatomy service is presented. All the medical records that this service stores are represented in XML, and our contribution involves retrieving records that are relevant for a given query that could be formulated by a Boolean expression on some fields, as well as using a text-free query on other different fields. The search engine that answers this second type of query is based on Bayesian networks.

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