Chest X-ray (CXR) datasets hosted on Kaggle, though useful from a data science competition standpoint, have limited utility in clinical use because of their narrow focus on diagnosing one specific disease. In real-world clinical use, multiple diseases need to be considered since they can co-exist in the same patient. In this work, we demonstrate how federated learning (FL) can be used to make these toy CXR datasets from Kaggle clinically useful. Specifically, we train a single FL classification model (`global`) using two separate CXR datasets -- one annotated for presence of pneumonia and the other for presence of pneumothorax (two common and life-threatening conditions) -- capable of diagnosing both. We compare the performance of the global FL model with models trained separately on both datasets (`baseline`) for two different model architectures. On a standard, naive 3-layer CNN architecture, the global FL model achieved AUROC of 0.84 and 0.81 for pneumonia and pneumothorax, respectively, compared to 0.85 and 0.82, respectively, for both baseline models (p>0.05). Similarly, on a pretrained DenseNet121 architecture, the global FL model achieved AUROC of 0.88 and 0.91 for pneumonia and pneumothorax, respectively, compared to 0.89 and 0.91, respectively, for both baseline models (p>0.05). Our results suggest that FL can be used to create global `meta` models to make toy datasets from Kaggle clinically useful, a step forward towards bridging the gap from bench to bedside.
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