Effectiveness of global features for automatic medical image classification and retrieval - The experiences of OHSU at ImageCLEFmed

Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, William Hersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In 2006 and 2007, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) participated in the automatic image annotation task for medical images at ImageCLEF, an annual international benchmarking event that is part of the cross language evaluation forum (CLEF). The goal of the automatic annotation task was to classify 1000 test images based on the image retrieval in medical applications (IRMA) code, given a set of 10,000 training images. There were 116 distinct classes in 2006 and 2007. We evaluated the efficacy of a variety of primarily global features for this classification task. These included features based on histograms, gray level correlation matrices and the gist technique. A multitude of classifiers including k-nearest neighbors, two-level neural networks, support vector machines, and maximum likelihood classifiers were evaluated. Our official error rates for the 1000 test images were 26% in 2006 using the flat classification structure. The error count in 2007 was 67.8 using the hierarchical classification error computation based on the IRMA code in 2007. Confusion matrices as well as clustering experiments were used to identify visually similar classes. The use of the IRMA code did not help us in the classification task as the semantic hierarchy of the IRMA classes did not correspond well with the hierarchy based on clustering of image features that we used. Our most frequent misclassification errors were along the view axis. Subsequent experiments based on a two-stage classification system decreased our error rate to 19.8% for the 2006 dataset and our error count to 55.4 for the 2007 data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2032-2038
Number of pages7
JournalPattern Recognition Letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Automatic image annotation
  • Benchmark
  • Image classification
  • Medical images
  • Neural networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


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