Human-computer collaboration for skin cancer recognition

Skin Cancer

Tschandl P, et al. Nat Med 2020.


The rapid increase in telemedicine coupled with recent advances in diagnostic artificial intelligence (AI) create the imperative to consider the opportunities and risks of inserting AI-based support into new paradigms of care. Here we build on recent achievements in the accuracy of image-based AI for skin cancer diagnosis to address the effects of varied representations of AI-based support across different levels of clinical expertise and multiple clinical workflows. We find that good quality

AI-based support of clinical decision-making improves diagnostic accuracy over that of either AI or physicians alone, and that the least experienced clinicians gain the most from AI-based support. We further find that AI-based multiclass probabilities outperformed content-based image retrieval (CBIR) representations of AI in the mobile technology environment, and AI-based support had utility in simulations of second opinions and of telemedicine triage. In addition to demonstrating the potential benefits associated with good quality AI in the hands of non-expert clinicians, we find that faulty AI can mislead the entire spectrum of clinicians, including experts. Lastly, we show that insights derived from AI class-activation maps can inform improvements in human diagnosis. Together, our approach and findings offer a framework for future studies across the spectrum of image-based diagnostics to improve human-computer collaboration in clinical practice.