UCL Institute of Health Informatics


Farr/IDH seminar: Learning Individualized Treatment Effects from Observational Data

5 October 2017

Title: “Learning Individualized Treatment Effects from Observational Data”

Speaker: Professor Mihaela van der Schaar, Professor of Quantitative Finance, University of Oxford and Alan Turing Institute.

Date: 17 October 2017, h. 1:00-2:00 pm

Venue: Room G01, Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, 222 Euston Road, London NW1 2DA

Current treatment guidelines have been developed for the “average” patient, but there is ample evidence that different treatments have different effects on different individual. To choose the right treatment for a particular patient requires understanding the effect of each (potential) treatment on that individual. In this talk, I will present some new theories and associated methods for learning individualized treatment effects (ITE's) from observational data.

The problem is difficult (and different from familiar supervised learning problems) because for every subject in an observational cohort, we observe the "factual" outcome but we never observe the "counterfactual" outcome; e.g. we learn what happened to a particular patient who received a particular treatment but we do not learn what would have happened to that same patient if s/he had received a different treatment (or no treatment  at all).  The problem is made even harder because the observational data is typically not from a randomized trial: the choice of treatments (or non-treatments) was typically made by clinicians on some basis that is not known to us.

Our work takes a novel approach to learning ITE's, viewing the problem as one of multi-task learning.  Our work achieves large performance improvements over the previous state-of-the-art.  It provides guidance for treating individual patients.  It also provides methods for post-hoc subgroup analysis of the results of past clinical trials and improvements for the design of future clinical trials.   

Mihaela van der Schaar is Man Professor of Quantitative Finance in the Oxford – Man Institute of Quantitative Finance (OMI) and the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford, Fellow of Christ Church College and Faculty Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute [Link], London.

Mihaela's research interests and expertise are in machine learning, data science and decisions for a better planet. In particular, she is interested in developing machine learning and decision theory for finance, medicine and personalized education. She also has research interests and expertise in game theory and applications, and in social, economic and biological networks. She leads the Data Science and Decisions Research Group.

To register please use go to Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/frontiers-of-digital-health-mihaela-van-der-schaar-tickets-37480815127