During the diagnostic process, doctors incorporate multimodal information including imaging and the medical history - and similarly medical AI development has increasingly become multimodal. In this paper we tackle a more subtle challenge: doctors take a targeted medical history to obtain only the most pertinent pieces of information; how do we enable AI to do the same? We develop a wrapper method named MINT (Make your model INTeractive) that automatically determines what pieces of information are most valuable at each step, and ask for only the most useful information. We demonstrate the efficacy of MINT wrapping a skin disease prediction model, where multiple images and a set of optional answers to $25$ standard metadata questions (i.e., structured medical history) are used by a multi-modal deep network to provide a differential diagnosis. We show that MINT can identify whether metadata inputs are needed and if so, which question to ask next. We also demonstrate that when collecting multiple images, MINT can identify if an additional image would be beneficial, and if so, which type of image to capture. We showed that MINT reduces the number of metadata and image inputs needed by 82% and 36.2% respectively, while maintaining predictive performance. Using real-world AI dermatology system data, we show that needing fewer inputs can retain users that may otherwise fail to complete the system submission and drop off without a diagnosis. Qualitative examples show MINT can closely mimic the step-by-step decision making process of a clinical workflow and how this is different for straight forward cases versus more difficult, ambiguous cases. Finally we demonstrate how MINT is robust to different underlying multi-model classifiers and can be easily adapted to user requirements without significant model re-training.
Our approach, which we call Embeddings for Language/Image-aligned X-Rays, or ELIXR, leverages a language-aligned image encoder combined or grafted onto a fixed LLM, PaLM 2, to perform a broad range of tasks. We train this lightweight adapter architecture using images paired with corresponding free-text radiology reports from the MIMIC-CXR dataset. ELIXR achieved state-of-the-art performance on zero-shot chest X-ray (CXR) classification (mean AUC of 0.850 across 13 findings), data-efficient CXR classification (mean AUCs of 0.893 and 0.898 across five findings (atelectasis, cardiomegaly, consolidation, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema) for 1% (~2,200 images) and 10% (~22,000 images) training data), and semantic search (0.76 normalized discounted cumulative gain (NDCG) across nineteen queries, including perfect retrieval on twelve of them). Compared to existing data-efficient methods including supervised contrastive learning (SupCon), ELIXR required two orders of magnitude less data to reach similar performance. ELIXR also showed promise on CXR vision-language tasks, demonstrating overall accuracies of 58.7% and 62.5% on visual question answering and report quality assurance tasks, respectively. These results suggest that ELIXR is a robust and versatile approach to CXR AI.
In safety-critical classification tasks, conformal prediction allows to perform rigorous uncertainty quantification by providing confidence sets including the true class with a user-specified probability. This generally assumes the availability of a held-out calibration set with access to ground truth labels. Unfortunately, in many domains, such labels are difficult to obtain and usually approximated by aggregating expert opinions. In fact, this holds true for almost all datasets, including well-known ones such as CIFAR and ImageNet. Applying conformal prediction using such labels underestimates uncertainty. Indeed, when expert opinions are not resolvable, there is inherent ambiguity present in the labels. That is, we do not have ``crisp'', definitive ground truth labels and this uncertainty should be taken into account during calibration. In this paper, we develop a conformal prediction framework for such ambiguous ground truth settings which relies on an approximation of the underlying posterior distribution of labels given inputs. We demonstrate our methodology on synthetic and real datasets, including a case study of skin condition classification in dermatology.
For safety, AI systems in health undergo thorough evaluations before deployment, validating their predictions against a ground truth that is assumed certain. However, this is actually not the case and the ground truth may be uncertain. Unfortunately, this is largely ignored in standard evaluation of AI models but can have severe consequences such as overestimating the future performance. To avoid this, we measure the effects of ground truth uncertainty, which we assume decomposes into two main components: annotation uncertainty which stems from the lack of reliable annotations, and inherent uncertainty due to limited observational information. This ground truth uncertainty is ignored when estimating the ground truth by deterministically aggregating annotations, e.g., by majority voting or averaging. In contrast, we propose a framework where aggregation is done using a statistical model. Specifically, we frame aggregation of annotations as posterior inference of so-called plausibilities, representing distributions over classes in a classification setting, subject to a hyper-parameter encoding annotator reliability. Based on this model, we propose a metric for measuring annotation uncertainty and provide uncertainty-adjusted metrics for performance evaluation. We present a case study applying our framework to skin condition classification from images where annotations are provided in the form of differential diagnoses. The deterministic adjudication process called inverse rank normalization (IRN) from previous work ignores ground truth uncertainty in evaluation. Instead, we present two alternative statistical models: a probabilistic version of IRN and a Plackett-Luce-based model. We find that a large portion of the dataset exhibits significant ground truth uncertainty and standard IRN-based evaluation severely over-estimates performance without providing uncertainty estimates.