Extreme Multilabel Classification for Specialist Doctor Recommendation with Implicit Feedback and Limited Patient Metadata

by   Filipa Valdeira, et al.

Recommendation Systems (RS) are often used to address the issue of medical doctor referrals. However, these systems require access to patient feedback and medical records, which may not always be available in real-world scenarios. Our research focuses on medical referrals and aims to predict recommendations in different specialties of physicians for both new patients and those with a consultation history. We use Extreme Multilabel Classification (XML), commonly employed in text-based classification tasks, to encode available features and explore different scenarios. While its potential for recommendation tasks has often been suggested, this has not been thoroughly explored in the literature. Motivated by the doctor referral case, we show how to recast a traditional recommender setting into a multilabel classification problem that current XML methods can solve. Further, we propose a unified model leveraging patient history across different specialties. Compared to state-of-the-art RS using the same features, our approach consistently improves standard recommendation metrics up to approximately 10% for patients with a previous consultation history. For new patients, XML proves better at exploiting available features, outperforming the benchmark in favorable scenarios, with particular emphasis on recall metrics. Thus, our approach brings us one step closer to creating more effective and personalized doctor referral systems. Additionally, it highlights XML as a promising alternative to current hybrid or content-based RS, while identifying key aspects to take into account when using XML for recommendation tasks.


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