Reading and decision aids for improved accuracy and standardization of mammographic diagnosis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

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Document Type



Humans; Mammography; ROC Curve


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Image-reading and decision aids were designed to improve the accuracy of mammogram interpretation. The reading aid was a list of diagnostic radiographic features and scales for quantification of each feature. The decision aid, a computer program, converted the reader's scaled values, weighted for predictive power, into an advisory estimate of the probability of malignancy. The features were identified and their importance was assigned in four steps: (a) interviews of five expert readers to establish an initial set of features, (b) perceptual tests to refine the feature set, (c) a consensus meeting to refine this set and establish nomenclature and scales, and (d) the expert's scaling of each feature in a set of 150 mammograms. Those scaled judgments were analyzed to provide the final list of features and their relative importance and to program the computer decision aid. To test the enhancement effect, six other radiologists interpreted a different set of mammograms without, and later with, the two aids. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed a gain of approximately 0.05 in sensitivity or specificity when the other value remained at 0.85. In a subset of the more difficult cases, the enhancement effect was approximately 0.15 in either sensitivity or specificity.

DOI of Published Version



Radiology. 1992 Sep;184(3):619-22.

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