Reinforcement Learning for Intelligent Healthcare Systems: A Review of Challenges, Applications, and Open Research Issues

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IEEE Internet of Things Journal


The rise of chronic disease patients and the pandemic pose immediate threats to healthcare expenditure and mortality rates. This calls for transforming healthcare systems away from one-on-one patient treatment into intelligent health systems, leveraging the recent advances of IoT and smart sensors. Meanwhile, Reinforcement Learning (RL) has witnessed an intrinsic breakthrough in solving a variety of complex problems for distinct applications and services. Thus, this paper presents a comprehensive survey of the recent models and techniques of RL that have been developed/used for supporting Intelligent-healthcare (I-health) systems. It can guide the readers to deeply understand the state-of-the-art regarding the use of RL in the context of I-health. Specifically, we first present an overview of the I-health systems’ challenges, architecture, and how RL can benefit these systems. We then review the background and mathematical modeling of different RL, Deep RL (DRL), and multi-agent RL models. We highlight important guidelines on how to select the appropriate RL model for a given problem, and provide quantitative comparisons, showing the results of deploying key RL models in two scenarios that can be followed in monitoring applications. After that, we conduct an in-depth literature review on RL’s applications in I-health systems, covering edge intelligence, smart core network, and dynamic treatment regimes. Finally, we highlight emerging challenges and future research directions to enhance RL’s success in I-health systems, which opens the door for exploring some interesting and unsolved problems.

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Computer architecture, Deep learning, distributed machine learning, edge computing, Internet of Things, Internet of Things (IoT), Mathematical models, Medical services, Optimization, Remote monitoring, remote monitoring, Surveys


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