Lehigh Professor Co-Chairs International Health Conference

Mooi Choo Chuah, a Lehigh University professor of computer science and engineering and co-director of the undergraduate computer engineering program, served as technical co-chair of the second annual IEEE/ACM Conference on Connected Health: Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies. According to the conference website, the event “aims at bringing together researchers worldwide working in the smart and connected health area to exchange innovative ideas and develop collaborations.” The conference took place in Philadelphia from July 17–19.

Chuah also presented a paper during the conference entitled “Incentivizing High Quality Crowdsourcing Clinical Data for Disease Prediction.” summarized the paper, saying that Chuah and her collaborators used, “a large dataset to demonstrate an improved disease prediction model that combines data cleaning and careful feature selection with effective machine learning techniques.”

The dataset utilized in Chuah’s research came from the Pooled Resource Open-Access ALS Clinical Trials (PRO-ACT) data base. Chuah and her collaborators used the PRO-ACT data to predict the course of patients with ALS. They divided the disease progression into three categories: slow, average and fast. Chuah’s model proved more accurate than previous methods of disease course prediction.

Chuah commented, “This has both cost-saving implications—as a physician might see a patient with a faster-progressing disease more frequently, but less frequently for slow-progressing patients—as well as for improved health outcomes.”

The professor and her collaborators also developed an algorithm that would address the issue that individual hospitals do lack the data for effective predictive disease analysis. The algorithm uses an incentive model, wherein health care providers can see the cost of contributing to a crowdsourced database and make an informed decision about whether to engage.

Chuah obtained her bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Milaya and her Ph.D. from University of California San Diego. She spent her early career working in wireless internet systems, before turning her focus to the health care system.

Of her research, Chuah remarked that she is always looking to address issues that she feels, “will have some kind of positive social impact.”