Patient-Specific Explanations for Predictions of Clinical Outcomes

Mohammadamin Tajgardoon, Malarkodi J. Samayamuthu, Luca Calzoni, Shyam Visweswaran.  Patient-Specific Explanations for Predictions of Clinical OutcomesApplied Clinical Informatics (ACI) Journal.  2019; 03(02): e88-e97. DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1697907.

Background Machine learning models that are used for predicting clinical outcomes can be made more useful by augmenting predictions with simple and reliable patient-specific explanations for each prediction.

Objectives This article evaluates the quality of explanations of predictions using physician reviewers. The predictions are obtained from a machine learning model that is developed to predict dire outcomes (severe complications including death) in patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Methods Using a dataset of patients diagnosed with CAP, we developed a predictive model to predict dire outcomes. On a set of 40 patients, who were predicted to be either at very high risk or at very low risk of developing a dire outcome, we applied an explanation method to generate patient-specific explanations. Three physician reviewers independently evaluated each explanatory feature in the context of the patient's data and were instructed to disagree with a feature if they did not agree with the magnitude of support, the direction of support (supportive versus contradictory), or both.

Results The model used for generating predictions achieved a F1 score of 0.43 and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.84 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.81–0.87). Interreviewer agreement between two reviewers was strong (Cohen's kappa coefficient = 0.87) and fair to moderate between the third reviewer and others (Cohen's kappa coefficient = 0.49 and 0.33). Agreement rates between reviewers and generated explanations—defined as the proportion of explanatory features with which majority of reviewers agreed—were 0.78 for actual explanations and 0.52 for fabricated explanations, and the difference between the two agreement rates was statistically significant (Chi-square = 19.76, p-value < 0.01).

Conclusion There was good agreement among physician reviewers on patient-specific explanations that were generated to augment predictions of clinical outcomes. Such explanations can be useful in interpreting predictions of clinical outcomes.

Publication Year: 
Publication Credits: 
Mohammadamin Tajgardoon, Malarkodi J. Samayamuthu, Luca Calzoni, Shyam Visweswaran. 
Publication Download: 
PDF icon s-0039-1697907 (1).pdf300.43 KB