Our new article has been published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making:
Gandouz M, Holzmann H, Heider D: Machine learning with asymmetric abstention for biomedical decision-making. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2021, 21:294. (Link)
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have entered biomedical decision-making for diagnostics, prognostics, or therapy recommendations. However, these methods need to be interpreted with care because of the severe consequences for patients. In contrast to human decision-making, computational models typically make a decision also with low confidence. Machine learning with abstention better reflects human decision-making by introducing a reject option for samples with low confidence. The abstention intervals are typically symmetric intervals around the decision boundary. In the current study, we use asymmetric abstention intervals, which we demonstrate to be better suited for biomedical data that is typically highly imbalanced. We evaluate symmetric and asymmetric abstention on three real-world biomedical datasets and show that both approaches can significantly improve classification performance. However, asymmetric abstention rejects as many or fewer samples compared to symmetric abstention and thus, should be used in imbalanced data.