Bayesian Networks (BNs) are graphical probabilistic models that have proven popular in medical applications. While numerous medical BNs have been published, most are presented fait accompli without explanation of how the network structure was developed or justification of why it represents the correct structure for the given medical application. This means that the process of building medical BNs from experts is typically ad hoc and offers little opportunity for methodological improvement. This paper proposes generally applicable and reusable medical reasoning patterns to aid those developing medical BNs. The proposed method complements and extends the idiom-based approach introduced by Neil, Fenton, and Nielsen in 2000. We propose instances of their generic idioms that are specific to medical BNs. We refer to the proposed medical reasoning patterns as medical idioms. In addition, we extend the use of idioms to represent interventional and counterfactual reasoning. We believe that the proposed medical idioms are logical reasoning patterns that can be combined, reused and applied generically to help develop medical BNs. All proposed medical idioms have been illustrated using medical examples on coronary artery disease. The method has also been applied to other ongoing BNs being developed with medical experts. Finally, we show that applying the proposed medical idioms to published BN models results in models with a clearer structure.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.