Efficient automated error detection in medical data using deep-learning and label-clustering

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Scientific reports


Medical datasets inherently contain errors from subjective or inaccurate test results, or from confounding biological complexities. It is difficult for medical experts to detect these elusive errors manually, due to lack of contextual information, limiting data privacy regulations, and the sheer scale of data to be reviewed. Current methods for training robust artificial intelligence (AI) models on data containing mislabeled examples generally fall into one of several categories-attempting to improve the robustness of the model architecture, the regularization techniques used, the loss function used during training, or selecting a subset of data that contains cleaner labels. This last category requires the ability to efficiently detect errors either prior to or during training, either relabeling them or removing them completely. More recent progress in error detection has focused on using multi-network learning to minimize deleterious effects of errors on training, however, using many neural networks to reach a consensus on which data should be removed can be computationally intensive and inefficient. In this work, a deep-learning based algorithm was used in conjunction with a label-clustering approach to automate error detection. For dataset with synthetic label flips added, these errors were identified with an accuracy of up to 85%, while requiring up to 93% less computing resources to complete compared to a previous model consensus approach developed previously. The resulting trained AI models exhibited greater training stability and up to a 45% improvement in accuracy, from 69 to over 99% compared to the consensus approach, at least 10% improvement on using noise-robust loss functions in a binary classification problem, and a 51% improvement for multi-class classification. These results indicate that practical, automated a priori detection of errors in medical data is possible, without human oversight.

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