The Medkit-Learn(ing) Environment: Medical Decision Modelling through Simulation

Part of Proceedings of the Neural Information Processing Systems Track on Datasets and Benchmarks 1 (NeurIPS Datasets and Benchmarks 2021)

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Authors

Alex Chan, Ioana Bica, Alihan Hüyük, Daniel Jarrett, Mihaela van der Schaar

Abstract

The goal of understanding decision-making behaviours in clinical environments is of paramount importance if we are to bring the strengths of machine learning to ultimately improve patient outcomes. Mainstream development of algorithms is often geared towards optimal performance in tasks that do not necessarily translate well into the medical regime---due to several factors including the lack of public availability of realistic data, the intrinsically offline nature of the problem, as well as the complexity and variety of human behaviours. We therefore present a new benchmarking suite designed specifically for medical sequential decision modelling: the Medkit-Learn(ing) Environment, a publicly available Python package providing simple and easy access to high-fidelity synthetic medical data. While providing a standardised way to compare algorithms in a realistic medical setting, we employ a generating process that disentangles the policy and environment dynamics to allow for a range of customisations, thus enabling systematic evaluation of algorithms’ robustness against specific challenges prevalent in healthcare.