Keywords: Machine Learning, Domain Generalization, Robustness, Medical Imaging
TL;DR: We find that saliency-based methods for OOD generalization require segmentation masks that include domain-specific background regions.
Abstract: Domain generalization in medical image classification is an important problem for trustworthy machine learning to be deployed in healthcare. We find that existing approaches for domain generalization which utilize ground-truth abnormality segmentations to control feature attributions have poor out-of-distribution (OOD) performance relative to the standard baseline of empirical risk minimization (ERM). We investigate what regions of an image are important for medical image classification and show that parts of the background, that which is not contained in the abnormality segmentation, provides helpful signal. We then develop a new task-specific mask which covers all relevant regions. Utilizing this new segmentation mask significantly improves the performance of the ex- isting methods on the OOD test sets. To obtain better generalization results than ERM, we find it necessary to scale up the training data size in addition to the usage of these task-specific masks.