Clinical predictive models that include race as a predictor have the potential to exacerbate disparities in healthcare. Such models can be respecified to exclude race or optimized to reduce racial bias. We investigated the impact of such respecifications in a predictive model - UTICalc - which was designed to reduce catheterizations in young children with suspected urinary tract infections. To reduce racial bias, race was removed from the UTICalc logistic regression model and replaced with two new features. We compared the two versions of UTICalc using fairness and predictive performance metrics to understand the effects on racial bias. In addition, we derived three new models for UTICalc to specifically improve racial fairness. Our results show that, as predicted by previously described impossibility results, fairness cannot be simultaneously improved on all fairness metrics, and model respecification may improve racial fairness but decrease overall predictive performance.Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.Funding Statement
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award number T15 LM007059 from the National Library of Medicine and under award number UL1 TR001857 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. It was also supported by a School of Computing and Information Predoctoral Fellowship to JWA.Author Declarations
I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.
The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:
The IRB of University of Pittsburgh gave ethical approval for this work.
I confirm that all necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived, and that any patient/participant/sample identifiers included were not known to anyone (e.g., hospital staff, patients or participants themselves) outside the research group so cannot be used to identify individuals.
I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).
I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines, such as any relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material, if applicable.
All data produced in the present study are available upon reasonable request to the authors.