Who am I?

My name is Anne. I am a PhD student at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science. I work on an automatic pipeline for extracting knowledge from patient forums. I hope to help transform the way we think about improving healthcare and quality of life. On this website, I explain my research to anyone who is interested.

Contact: a.r.dirkson@liacs.leidenuniv.nl
Source code: https://github.com/AnneDirkson

Using machine learning to detect patient experiences

Patients share many experiences on forums that are dedicated to their disease.  These experiences contain so-called experiential knowledge, or knowledge that you acquire from experience. To be able to eventually extract and use this knowledge to drive clinical research, we will first need to identify which forum posts actually contain experiences and to be able to automatically do just that, we used machine learning techniques. By automating this step, it becomes technically possible to apply it on a large scale on every forum irrespective of its size.

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My PhD project in a nutshell

Patients share many experiences on forums that are dedicated to their disease. You could think of experiences with side effects,  daily obstacles or financial issues. The experiences that are most interesting to us are the ones which describe how they cope with the problems they face. For instance, a patient might feel nauseous every time they take their medication unless they drink milk first. These experiences could be very valuable to other patients, because it could directly improve their quality of life.

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