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The impact of inconsistent human annotations on AI driven clinical decision making

Sylolypavan, Aneeta; Sleeman, Derek; Wu, Honghan; Sim, Malcolm; (2023) The impact of inconsistent human annotations on AI driven clinical decision making. npj Digital Medicine volume , 6 (1) , Article 26. 10.1038/s41746-023-00773-3. Green open access

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In supervised learning model development, domain experts are often used to provide the class labels (annotations). Annotation inconsistencies commonly occur when even highly experienced clinical experts annotate the same phenomenon (e.g., medical image, diagnostics, or prognostic status), due to inherent expert bias, judgments, and slips, among other factors. While their existence is relatively well-known, the implications of such inconsistencies are largely understudied in real-world settings, when supervised learning is applied on such 'noisy' labelled data. To shed light on these issues, we conducted extensive experiments and analyses on three real-world Intensive Care Unit (ICU) datasets. Specifically, individual models were built from a common dataset, annotated independently by 11 Glasgow Queen Elizabeth University Hospital ICU consultants, and model performance estimates were compared through internal validation (Fleiss' κ = 0.383 i.e., fair agreement). Further, broad external validation (on both static and time series datasets) of these 11 classifiers was carried out on a HiRID external dataset, where the models' classifications were found to have low pairwise agreements (average Cohen's κ = 0.255 i.e., minimal agreement). Moreover, they tend to disagree more on making discharge decisions (Fleiss' κ = 0.174) than predicting mortality (Fleiss' κ = 0.267). Given these inconsistencies, further analyses were conducted to evaluate the current best practices in obtaining gold-standard models and determining consensus. The results suggest that: (a) there may not always be a "super expert" in acute clinical settings (using internal and external validation model performances as a proxy); and (b) standard consensus seeking (such as majority vote) consistently leads to suboptimal models. Further analysis, however, suggests that assessing annotation learnability and using only 'learnable' annotated datasets for determining consensus achieves optimal models in most cases.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of inconsistent human annotations on AI driven clinical decision making
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41746-023-00773-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-023-00773-3
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10165635
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