Recent progress in Medical Artificial Intelligence (AI) has delivered systems that can reach clinical expert level performance. However, such systems tend to demonstrate sub-optimal "out-of-distribution" performance when evaluated in clinical settings different from the training environment. A common mitigation strategy is to develop separate systems for each clinical setting using site-specific data . However, this quickly becomes impractical as medical data is time-consuming to acquire and expensive to annotate . Thus, the problem of "data-efficient generalization" presents an ongoing difficulty for Medical AI development. Although progress in representation learning shows promise, their benefits have not been rigorously studied, specifically for out-of-distribution settings. To meet these challenges, we present REMEDIS, a unified representation learning strategy to improve robustness and data-efficiency of medical imaging AI. REMEDIS uses a generic combination of large-scale supervised transfer learning with self-supervised learning and requires little task-specific customization. We study a diverse range of medical imaging tasks and simulate three realistic application scenarios using retrospective data. REMEDIS exhibits significantly improved in-distribution performance with up to 11.5% relative improvement in diagnostic accuracy over a strong supervised baseline. More importantly, our strategy leads to strong data-efficient generalization of medical imaging AI, matching strong supervised baselines using between 1% to 33% of retraining data across tasks. These results suggest that REMEDIS can significantly accelerate the life-cycle of medical imaging AI development thereby presenting an important step forward for medical imaging AI to deliver broad impact.
We develop and rigorously evaluate a deep learning based system that can accurately classify skin conditions while detecting rare conditions for which there is not enough data available for training a confident classifier. We frame this task as an out-of-distribution (OOD) detection problem. Our novel approach, hierarchical outlier detection (HOD) assigns multiple abstention classes for each training outlier class and jointly performs a coarse classification of inliers vs. outliers, along with fine-grained classification of the individual classes. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the HOD loss in conjunction with modern representation learning approaches (BiT, SimCLR, MICLe) and explore different ensembling strategies for further improving the results. We perform an extensive subgroup analysis over conditions of varying risk levels and different skin types to investigate how the OOD detection performance changes over each subgroup and demonstrate the gains of our framework in comparison to baselines. Finally, we introduce a cost metric to approximate downstream clinical impact. We use this cost metric to compare the proposed method against a baseline system, thereby making a stronger case for the overall system effectiveness in a real-world deployment scenario.
Transfer learning is a standard technique to improve performance on tasks with limited data. However, for medical imaging, the value of transfer learning is less clear. This is likely due to the large domain mismatch between the usual natural-image pre-training (e.g. ImageNet) and medical images. However, recent advances in transfer learning have shown substantial improvements from scale. We investigate whether modern methods can change the fortune of transfer learning for medical imaging. For this, we study the class of large-scale pre-trained networks presented by Kolesnikov et al. on three diverse imaging tasks: chest radiography, mammography, and dermatology. We study both transfer performance and critical properties for the deployment in the medical domain, including: out-of-distribution generalization, data-efficiency, sub-group fairness, and uncertainty estimation. Interestingly, we find that for some of these properties transfer from natural to medical images is indeed extremely effective, but only when performed at sufficient scale.
Reliable detection of out-of-distribution (OOD) inputs is increasingly understood to be a precondition for deployment of machine learning systems. This paper proposes and investigates the use of contrastive training to boost OOD detection performance. Unlike leading methods for OOD detection, our approach does not require access to examples labeled explicitly as OOD, which can be difficult to collect in practice. We show in extensive experiments that contrastive training significantly helps OOD detection performance on a number of common benchmarks. By introducing and employing the Confusion Log Probability (CLP) score, which quantifies the difficulty of the OOD detection task by capturing the similarity of inlier and outlier datasets, we show that our method especially improves performance in the `near OOD' classes -- a particularly challenging setting for previous methods.
We propose a semantic segmentation model that exploits rotation and reflection symmetries. We demonstrate significant gains in sample efficiency due to increased weight sharing, as well as improvements in robustness to symmetry transformations. The group equivariant CNN framework is extended for segmentation by introducing a new equivariant (G->Z2)-convolution that transforms feature maps on a group to planar feature maps. Also, equivariant transposed convolution is formulated for up-sampling in an encoder-decoder network. To demonstrate improvements in sample efficiency we evaluate on multiple data regimes of a rotation-equivariant segmentation task: cancer metastases detection in histopathology images. We further show the effectiveness of exploiting more symmetries by varying the size of the group.
* Presented at the ICML workshop: Towards learning with limited labels:
Equivariance, Invariance, and Beyond, 2018
We propose a new model for digital pathology segmentation, based on the observation that histopathology images are inherently symmetric under rotation and reflection. Utilizing recent findings on rotation equivariant CNNs, the proposed model leverages these symmetries in a principled manner. We present a visual analysis showing improved stability on predictions, and demonstrate that exploiting rotation equivariance significantly improves tumor detection performance on a challenging lymph node metastases dataset. We further present a novel derived dataset to enable principled comparison of machine learning models, in combination with an initial benchmark. Through this dataset, the task of histopathology diagnosis becomes accessible as a challenging benchmark for fundamental machine learning research.