AI vs Doctor: Lung Tumor Recognition on a Chest X-ray
Artificial Intelligence will eventually transform nearly every industry. Medicine is no exception. In particular, AI has gotten much better at reading images. Advances in parallel computing and deep learning have made near-human level image analysis possible.
In a recent paper, researchers tested an AI against 15 doctors of different levels of training to see how well an AI could read chest x-rays. Could it beat an average doctor? A Radiologist? A Specialist Radiologist?
The example above was one of the more challenging examples used. The patient in this case had a lung tumor (highlighted in yellow) that was particularly hard to read.
Only 2/15 doctors managed to identify the tumor. The AI was able to identify it and correctly locate it within the chest x-ray, with an albeit low probabiliy score of 0.291.
AI vs Doctor: Pneumonia Recognition on a Chest X-ray
In a second representative example, the AI and doctors were asked to diagnose a patient based on the above chest x-ray. The X-ray contained what doctors call a "ground glass opacity." In this case, the opacity was from a case of pneumonia.
In this particular example, an AI was able to correctly locate this lesion with a probability score of 0.371, while all 15/15 doctors missed it.
ROC Performance Evaluation for Doctors vs AI
Across the entire dataset, the AI managed to detect images with higher sensitivity and specificity than doctors, as shown by the ROC curves above. The "higher" the curve, the more accurate the diagnosis.
DLAD had a AUCROC of 0.983, vs an AUCROC of 0.932 for specialist thoracic radiologists, 0.896 for board certified radiologists and 0.614 for nonradiology physicians.
AI Assist with Chest X-Rays
Initially, AI will likely be used to assist doctors in diagnosis. Researchers found that non-radiologists who had the assistance of an AI were able to diagnose chest x-rays as well as radiologists without an AI. Doctors of all levels of training benefited from having an AI assist in their diagnosis.
These data suggest an exciting future for medicine when it comes to AI. Well trained algorithms have the potential to improve diagnosis of all types. Patients receive chest x-rays all the time in hospitals. If algorithms can help doctors be more accurate in their diagnosis, we can potentially pick up more cases of cancer and other diseases earlier before they spread.