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

Alaa Awad Abdellatif, Naram Mhaisen, Amr Mohamed, Aiman Erbad, Mohsen Guizani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


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 Internet of Things 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 article 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 multiagent 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3288050
Pages (from-to)21982-22007
Number of pages26
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • 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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