A Privacy-Preserved Transfer Learning Concept to Predict Diabetic Kidney Disease at Out-of-Network Siloed Sites Using an In-Network Federated Model on Real-World Data

Successful implementation of data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) applications requires access to large datasets. Healthcare institutions can establish coordinated data-sharing networks to address the complexity of large clinical data accessibility for scientific advancements. However, persisting challenges from controlled access, safe data transferring, license restrictions from regulatory and legal concerns discourage data sharing among the in-network hospitals. In contrast, out-of-network healthcare institutions are deprived of access to any big EHR database; hence, limiting their research scope. The main objective of this study is to design a privacy-preserved transfer learning architecture that can utilize the knowledge from a federated model developed from in-network hospital-site EHR data for predicting diabetic kidney cases at out-of-network siloed hospital sites. In all our experiments, transfer learning showed improved performance compared to models trained with out-of-network site datasets. Thus, we demonstrate the proof-of-concept of transferring knowledge from established networks to aid data-driven AI discoveries at siloed sites.