, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 170-180
Date: 13 Feb 2009

Why Does It Take Longer to Read Digital Than Film-Screen Screening Mammograms? A Partial Explanation

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Digital screening mammograms (DM) take longer to interpret than film-screen screening mammograms (FSM). We evaluated what part of the process takes long in our reading environment. We selected cases from those for which timed readings had been performed as part of a previous study. Readers were timed as they performed various computer manipulations on groups of DM cases and as they moved the alternator and adjusted lighting and manual shutters for FSM cases. Subtracting manipulation time from the original interpretation times yielded estimated times to reach a decision. Manipulation times for DM ranged from a low of 11 s when four-view DM were simply opened and closed in a 4-on-1 hanging protocol before moving on to the next study to 113.8 s when each view of six-view DM were brought up 1-on-1, enlarged to 100% resolution, and panned through. Manipulation times for groups of FSM ranged from 8.3 to 12.1 s. Estimated decision-making times for DM ranged from 128.0 to 202.2 s, while estimated decision-making time for FSM ranged from 60.9 to 146.3 s. Computer manipulation time partially explains the discrepancy in interaction times between DM and FSM. Radiologists also appear to spend more time looking at DM than at FSM before making a decision.