Utilizing a digital swarm intelligence platform to improve consensus among radiologists and exploring its applications

by   Rutwik Shah, et al.

Radiologists today play a key role in making diagnostic decisions and labeling images for training A.I. algorithms. Low inter-reader reliability (IRR) can be seen between experts when interpreting challenging cases. While teams-based decisions are known to outperform individual decisions, inter-personal biases often creep up in group interactions which limit non-dominant participants from expressing true opinions. To overcome the dual problems of low consensus and inter-personal bias, we explored a solution modeled on biological swarms of bees. Two separate cohorts; three radiologists and five radiology residents collaborated on a digital swarm platform in real time and in a blinded fashion, grading meniscal lesions on knee MR exams. These consensus votes were benchmarked against clinical (arthroscopy) and radiological (senior-most radiologist) observations. The IRR of the consensus votes was compared to the IRR of the majority and most confident votes of the two cohorts.The radiologist cohort saw an improvement of 23 votes over majority vote. Similar improvement of 23 votes over majority vote, was observed. The 5-resident swarm had an even higher improvement of 32 improved specificity by up to 50 individual and majority vote decisions in both the radiologists and resident cohorts. The 5-resident swarm had higher IRR than 3-resident swarm indicating positive effect of increased swarm size. The attending and resident swarms also outperformed predictions from a state-of-the-art A.I. algorithm. Utilizing a digital swarm platform improved agreement and allows participants to express judgement free intent, resulting in superior clinical performance and robust A.I. training labels.


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