Effective training data extraction method to improve influenza outbreak prediction from online news articles: Deep learning model study

Beakcheol Jang, Inhwan Kim, Jong Wook Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Each year, influenza affects 3 to 5 million people and causes 290,000 to 650,000 fatalities worldwide. To reduce the fatalities caused by influenza, several countries have established influenza surveillance systems to collect early warning data. However, proper and timely warnings are hindered by a 1- to 2-week delay between the actual disease outbreaks and the publication of surveillance data. To address the issue, novel methods for influenza surveillance and prediction using real-time internet data (such as search queries, microblogging, and news) have been proposed. Some of the currently popular approaches extract online data and use machine learning to predict influenza occurrences in a classification mode. However, many of these methods extract training data subjectively, and it is difficult to capture the latent characteristics of the data correctly. There is a critical need to devise new approaches that focus on extracting training data by reflecting the latent characteristics of the data. Objective: In this paper, we propose an effective method to extract training data in a manner that reflects the hidden features and improves the performance by filtering and selecting only the keywords related to influenza before the prediction. Methods: Although word embedding provides a distributed representation of words by encoding the hidden relationships between various tokens, we enhanced the word embeddings by selecting keywords related to the influenza outbreak and sorting the extracted keywords using the Pearson correlation coefficient in order to solely keep the tokens with high correlation with the actual influenza outbreak. The keyword extraction process was followed by a predictive model based on long short-term memory that predicts the influenza outbreak. To assess the performance of the proposed predictive model, we used and compared a variety of word embedding techniques. Results: Word embedding without our proposed sorting process showed 0.8705 prediction accuracy when 50.2 keywords were selected on average. Conversely, word embedding using our proposed sorting process showed 0.8868 prediction accuracy and an improvement in prediction accuracy of 12.6%, although smaller amounts of training data were selected, with only 20.6 keywords on average. Conclusions: The sorting stage empowers the embedding process, which improves the feature extraction process because it acts as a knowledge base for the prediction component. The model outperformed other current approaches that use flat extraction before prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23305
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korea Government under Grant NRF2019R1F1A1058058.

Publisher Copyright:
©Beakcheol Jang, Inhwan Kim, Jong Wook Kim.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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