I computed a word vector model on medical reports on a critical disease and run a logistic regression on a binary classifier. Text data is labeled with 1=successful and 0=non-successful for the true outcome of the treatment. I train with 90% of my data and test on 10%. The dataset contains about 30% successful and 70% unsuccessful cases (N= ca. 20,000).

Now, I got following results from my scikit-learn function:

LogR = LogisticRegression(penalty='l2', C= 1.0, max_iter=100, n_jobs=1, tol=0.0001)
LogR = LogR.fit(x_train, y_train)
y_pred = LogR.predict(x_test)
print(classification_report(y_test, y_pred, digits=3))

             precision    recall  f1-score   support

        0.0     0.6197    0.9543    0.7514      3413
        1.0     0.3305    0.0371    0.0667      2076

avg / total     0.5103    0.6074    0.4924      5489

I would like to make sure, how to interpret the results. In particular, what it implies, practically. Note that I looked into the theory of "precision vs. recall tradeoff", the basic definition of accuracy, precision, and recall, as well as F-score weights.

As I interpret the results,

  • Overall accuracy seems like flipping a coin, or, as the averaged F-score suggests, even a bit worse.
  • The model has a higher precision in classifying unsuccessful treatments ("0",61%). In particular the 95% recall suggests that it almost does not miss out any of the unsuccessful treatments in the whole test sample.
  • However, the model is almost not able to identify successful cases ("1"). It only captures about 33% of the potential candidates and includes many false positives. In addition, the proportion of true positive classifications that are true positive is very, very low (3%).

Assuming you would be a doctor, would these prepositions be correct:

  • Intution on high precision, low recall: How many treatments are predicted correctly, at the risk to include a few false positives?
  • Intution on low precision, high recall: How many treatments are predicted correctly, at the risk to include a few false negatives? (i.e. how high are the chances to have a prediction for a successful outcomes, whereas truth turns out to be non-successful)

It would be great to have a bit of feedback, or correction of my interpretations.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Did you try plotting ROC curve, ROC curve will give better indication if your classifier is better than flipping the coin. $\endgroup$
    – Sahil Dahiya
    Dec 23, 2017 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


The logistic model's job is direct probability estimation. Don't use any accuracy measure that requires categorizing the estimated probabilities. More details are here. The $c$-index (concordance probability; AUROC) can help but it supplements rather than replaces measures based on the predicted probabilities and log-likelihood. It would also be advisable to read about optimum decision making and how it uses probabilities coupled with a utility function and does not pre-categorize predicted probabilities. This relates to minimizing expected loss/cost. The ROC curve doesn't help, as it invites the analyst to choose a cutpoint that is divorced from the actual utility function.


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