Inter- and Intra-Observer Agreement When Using a Diagnostic Labeling Scheme for Annotating Findings on Chest X-rays—An Early Step in the Development of a Deep Learning-Based Decision Support System

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Consistent annotation of data is a prerequisite for the successful training and testing of artificial intelligence-based decision support systems in radiology. This can be obtained by standardizing terminology when annotating diagnostic images. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the annotation consistency among radiologists when using a novel diagnostic labeling scheme for chest X-rays. Six radiologists with experience ranging from one to sixteen years, annotated a set of 100 fully anonymized chest X-rays. The blinded radiologists annotated on two separate occasions. Statistical analyses were done using Randolph’s kappa and PABAK, and the proportions of specific agreements were calculated. Fair-to-excellent agreement was found for all labels among the annotators (Randolph’s Kappa, 0.40–0.99). The PABAK ranged from 0.12 to 1 for the two-reader inter-rater agreement and 0.26 to 1 for the intra-rater agreement. Descriptive and broad labels achieved the highest proportion of positive agreement in both the inter- and intra-reader analyses. Annotating findings with specific, interpretive labels were found to be difficult for less experienced radiologists. Annotating images with descriptive labels may increase agreement between radiologists with different experience levels compared to annotation with interpretive labels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3112
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • artificial intelligence, chest X-ray, diagnostic scheme, image annotation, inter-rater, intra-rater, ontology, radiologists

ID: 330935108