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In NPJ digital medicine

Artificial intelligence (AI) based on deep learning has shown excellent diagnostic performance in detecting various diseases with good-quality clinical images. Recently, AI diagnostic systems developed from ultra-widefield fundus (UWF) images have become popular standard-of-care tools in screening for ocular fundus diseases. However, in real-world settings, these systems must base their diagnoses on images with uncontrolled quality ("passive feeding"), leading to uncertainty about their performance. Here, using 40,562 UWF images, we develop a deep learning-based image filtering system (DLIFS) for detecting and filtering out poor-quality images in an automated fashion such that only good-quality images are transferred to the subsequent AI diagnostic system ("selective eating"). In three independent datasets from different clinical institutions, the DLIFS performed well with sensitivities of 96.9%, 95.6% and 96.6%, and specificities of 96.6%, 97.9% and 98.8%, respectively. Furthermore, we show that the application of our DLIFS significantly improves the performance of established AI diagnostic systems in real-world settings. Our work demonstrates that "selective eating" of real-world data is necessary and needs to be considered in the development of image-based AI systems.

Li Zhongwen, Guo Chong, Nie Danyao, Lin Duoru, Zhu Yi, Chen Chuan, Zhao Lanqin, Wu Xiaohang, Dongye Meimei, Xu Fabao, Jin Chenjin, Zhang Ping, Han Yu, Yan Pisong, Lin Haotian