Five points to consider when reading a translational machine-learning paper.


Machine-learning techniques are used in this BJPsych special issue on precision medicine in attempts to create statistical models that make clinically relevant predictions for individual patients. In this primer, we outline five key points that are helpful for a new reader to consider in order to engage with the field and evaluate the literature. These points include the consideration of why we are interested in new statistical approaches, how they may produce individualised predictions, what caveats need to be kept in-mind and why the interest and engagment of clinicians and clinical researchers is critical to successful model development and implementation. We hope that the following primer will provide shared understanding to encourage dialogue between clinical and methodological fields.