Using Big Data to Develop a Clinical Decision Support System for Tinnitus Treatment

Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2021:51:175-189. doi: 10.1007/7854_2021_229.


Tinnitus is a common symptom of a phantom sound perception with a considerable socioeconomic impact. Tinnitus pathophysiology is enigmatic and its significant heterogeneity reflects a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations, severity and annoyance among tinnitus sufferers. Although several interventions have been suggested, currently there is no universally accepted treatment. Moreover, there is no well-established correlation between tinnitus features or patients' characteristics and projection of treatment response. At the clinical level, this practically means that selection of treatment is not based on expected outcomes for the particular patient.The complexity of tinnitus and lack of well-adapted prognostic factors for treatment selection highlight a potential role for a decision support system (DSS). A DSS is an informative system, based on big data that aims to facilitate decision-making based on: specific rules, retrospective data reflecting results, patient profiling and predictive models. Therefore, it can use algorithms evaluating numerous parameters and indicate the weight of their contribution to the final outcome. This means that DSS can provide additional information, exceeding the typical questions of superiority of one treatment versus another, commonly addressed in literature.The development of a DSS for tinnitus treatment selection will make use of an underlying database consisting of medical, epidemiological, audiological, electrophysiological, genetic and tinnitus subtyping data. Algorithms will be developed with the use of machine learning and data mining techniques. Based on the profile features identified as prognostic these algorithms will be able to suggest whether additional examinations are needed for a robust result as well as which treatment or combination of treatments is optimal for every patient in a personalized level.In this manuscript we carefully define the conceptual basis for a tinnitus treatment selection DSS. We describe the big data set and the knowledge base on which the DSS will be based and the algorithms that will be used for prognosis and treatment selection.

Keywords: Big data; Clinical decision support system; Personalized treatment; Tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Big Data
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tinnitus* / therapy