NIPS Proceedingsβ

Hybrid Retrieval-Generation Reinforced Agent for Medical Image Report Generation

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NIPS 2018)

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Conference Event Type: Poster


Generating long and coherent reports to describe medical images poses challenges to bridging visual patterns with informative human linguistic descriptions. We propose a novel Hybrid Retrieval-Generation Reinforced Agent (HRGR-Agent) which reconciles traditional retrieval-based approaches populated with human prior knowledge, with modern learning-based approaches to achieve structured, robust, and diverse report generation. HRGR-Agent employs a hierarchical decision-making procedure. For each sentence, a high-level retrieval policy module chooses to either retrieve a template sentence from an off-the-shelf template database, or invoke a low-level generation module to generate a new sentence. HRGR-Agent is updated via reinforcement learning, guided by sentence-level and word-level rewards. Experiments show that our approach achieves the state-of-the-art results on two medical report datasets, generating well-balanced structured sentences with robust coverage of heterogeneous medical report contents. In addition, our model achieves the highest detection precision of medical abnormality terminologies, and improved human evaluation performance.