Performance of Multiple Pretrained BERT Models to Automate and Accelerate Data Annotation for Large Datasets

Ali S. Tejani, Yee S. Ng, Yin Xi, Julia R. Fielding, Travis G. Browning, Jesse C. Rayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To develop and evaluate domain-specific and pretrained bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT) models in a transfer learning task on varying training dataset sizes to annotate a larger overall dataset. Materials and Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed 69 095 anonymized adult chest radiograph reports (reports dated April 2020–March 2021). From the overall cohort, 1004 reports were randomly selected and labeled for the presence or absence of each of the following devices: endotracheal tube (ETT), enterogastric tube (NGT, or Dobhoff tube), central venous catheter (CVC), and Swan-Ganz catheter (SGC). Pretrained transformer models (BERT, PubMedBERT, DistilBERT, RoBERTa, and DeBERTa) were trained, validated, and tested on 60%, 20%, and 20%, respectively, of these reports through fivefold cross-validation. Additional training involved varying dataset sizes with 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, and 40% of the 1004 reports. The best-performing epochs were used to assess area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and determine run time on the overall dataset. Results: The highest average AUCs from fivefold cross-validation were 0.996 for ETT (RoBERTa), 0.994 for NGT (RoBERTa), 0.991 for CVC (PubMedBERT), and 0.98 for SGC (PubMedBERT). DeBERTa demonstrated the highest AUC for each support device trained on 5% of the training set. PubMedBERT showed a higher AUC with a decreasing training set size compared with BERT. Training and validation time was shortest for DistilBERT at 3 minutes 39 seconds on the annotated cohort. Conclusion: Pretrained and domain-specific transformer models required small training datasets and short training times to create a highly accurate final model that expedites autonomous annotation of large datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere220007
JournalRadiology: Artificial Intelligence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Artificial Intelligence


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