Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Datasets and Benchmarks Track
Arsene Fansi Tchango, Rishab Goel, Zhi Wen, Julien Martel, Joumana Ghosn
There has been a rapidly growing interest in Automatic Symptom Detection (ASD) and Automatic Diagnosis (AD) systems in the machine learning research literature, aiming to assist doctors in telemedicine services. These systems are designed to interact with patients, collect evidence about their symptoms and relevant antecedents, and possibly make predictions about the underlying diseases. Doctors would review the interactions, including the evidence and the predictions, collect if necessary additional information from patients, before deciding on next steps. Despite recent progress in this area, an important piece of doctors' interactions with patients is missing in the design of these systems, namely the differential diagnosis. Its absence is largely due to the lack of datasets that include such information for models to train on. In this work, we present a large-scale synthetic dataset of roughly 1.3 million patients that includes a differential diagnosis, along with the ground truth pathology, symptoms and antecedents for each patient. Unlike existing datasets which only contain binary symptoms and antecedents, this dataset also contains categorical and multi-choice symptoms and antecedents useful for efficient data collection. Moreover, some symptoms are organized in a hierarchy, making it possible to design systems able to interact with patients in a logical way. As a proof-of-concept, we extend two existing AD and ASD systems to incorporate the differential diagnosis, and provide empirical evidence that using differentials as training signals is essential for the efficiency of such systems or for helping doctors better understand the reasoning of those systems.