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Comment & Response
May 2019

Artificial Intelligence Algorithms for Medical Prediction Should Be Nonproprietary and Readily Available

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Development and Regeneration, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, the Netherlands
  • 3Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 4Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, United Kingdom
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(5):731. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0597

To the Editor Wang and colleagues1 describe the challenges that arise for deep learning and other black-box machine learning algorithms for medical prediction. The authors rightfully hint at the fact that reliable performance of predictive analytics in health care is far from guaranteed by discussing data quantity, data quality, model generalizability, and interoperability. Machine-learning algorithms are prone to overfitting owing to small sample size or very flexible modeling. Moreover, the performance of diagnostic and prognostic algorithms is heterogeneous.2 The characteristics of target populations are dependent on region and hospital, and algorithm performance further depends on local operational characteristics, such as biomarker assay kits, imaging machines, or electronic health record data handling.3 In addition to heterogeneity, patient characteristics, medical technology, and clinical management change continuously. Thus, the data to develop algorithms become outdated.4

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