People on Drugs: Credibility of User Statements in Health Communities

author: Subhabrata Mukherjee, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute
published: Oct. 8, 2014,   recorded: August 2014,   views: 2135


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Online health communities are a valuable source of information for patients and physicians. However, such user-generated resources are often plagued by inaccuracies and misinformation. In this work we propose a method for automatically establishing the credibility of user-generated medical statements and the trustworthiness of their authors by exploiting linguistic cues and distant supervision from expert sources. To this end we introduce a probabilistic graphical model that jointly learns user trustworthiness, statement credibility, and language objectivity.

We apply this methodology to the task of extracting rare or unknown side-effects of medical drugs --- this being one of the problems where large scale non-expert data has the potential to complement expert medical knowledge. We show that our method can reliably extract side-effects and filter out false statements, while identifying trustworthy users that are likely to contribute valuable medical information.

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