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SADI: Similarity-Aware Diffusion Model-Based Imputation for Incomplete Temporal EHR Data

Zongyu Dai · Emily Getzen · Qi Long

MR1 & MR2 - Number 138
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Thu 2 May 8 a.m. PDT — 8:30 a.m. PDT


Missing values are prevalent in temporal electronic health records (EHR) data and are known to complicate data analysis and lead to biased results. The current state-of-the-art (SOTA) models for imputing missing values in EHR primarily leverage correlations across time points and across features, which perform well when data have strong correlation across time points, such as in ICU data where high-frequency time series data are collected. However, this is often insufficient for temporal EHR data from non-ICU settings (e.g., outpatient visits for primary care or specialty care), where data are collected at substantially sparser time points, resulting in much weaker correlation across time points. To address this methodological gap, we propose the Similarity-Aware Diffusion Model-Based Imputation (SADI), a novel imputation method that leverages the diffusion model and utilizes information across dependent variables. We apply SADI to impute incomplete temporal EHR data and propose a similarity-aware denoising function, which includes a self-attention mechanism to model the correlations between time points, features, and similar patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the information of similar patients is directly used to construct imputation for incomplete temporal EHR data. Our extensive experiments on two datasets, the Critical Path For Alzheimer’s Disease (CPAD) data and the PhysioNet Challenge 2012 data, show that SADI outperforms the current SOTA under various missing data mechanisms, including missing completely at random (MCAR), missing at random (MAR), and missing not at random (MNAR).

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