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Medical knowledge graphs (MKGs) are the basis for intelligent health care, and they have been in use in a variety of intelligent medical applications. Thus, understanding the research and application development of MKGs will be crucial for future relevant research in the biomedical field. To this end, we offer an in-depth review of MKG in this work. Our research begins with the examination of four types of medical information sources, knowledge graph creation methodologies, and six major themes for MKG development. Furthermore, three popular models of reasoning from the viewpoint of knowledge reasoning are discussed. A reasoning implementation path (RIP) is proposed as a means of expressing the reasoning procedures for MKG. In addition, we explore intelligent medical applications based on RIP and MKG and classify them into nine major types. Finally, we summarize the current state of MKG research based on more than 130 publications and future challenges and opportunities.

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Medical Knowledge Graph: Data Sources, Construction, Reasoning, and Applications

Show Author's information Xuehong Wu1,2,Junwen Duan1,Yi Pan3Min Li1( )
School of Computer Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
School of Computer Science, Hunan First Normal University, Changsha 410006, China
Faculty of Computer Science and Control Engineering, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518000, China

Xuehong Wu and Junwen Duan contribute equally to this work.


Medical knowledge graphs (MKGs) are the basis for intelligent health care, and they have been in use in a variety of intelligent medical applications. Thus, understanding the research and application development of MKGs will be crucial for future relevant research in the biomedical field. To this end, we offer an in-depth review of MKG in this work. Our research begins with the examination of four types of medical information sources, knowledge graph creation methodologies, and six major themes for MKG development. Furthermore, three popular models of reasoning from the viewpoint of knowledge reasoning are discussed. A reasoning implementation path (RIP) is proposed as a means of expressing the reasoning procedures for MKG. In addition, we explore intelligent medical applications based on RIP and MKG and classify them into nine major types. Finally, we summarize the current state of MKG research based on more than 130 publications and future challenges and opportunities.

Keywords: medical knowledge graph, knowledge graph construction, knowledge reasoning, intelligent medical applications, intelligent healthcare


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Received: 03 July 2022
Accepted: 13 July 2022
Published: 26 January 2023
Issue date: June 2023


© The author(s) 2023.


This work was supported in part by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2021YFF1201200), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 62006251), and the Science and Technology Innovation Program of Hunan Province (No. 2021RC4008).

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