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Breast. 2008 Feb;17(1):85-90. Epub 2007 Aug 30.

Performance of radiographers in mammogram interpretation: a systematic review.

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Department of Radiology, Maastricht University Hospital, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Radiologists may be relieved from work that could be performed by radiographers. This systematic literature review focuses on the performance of radiographers (also referring to technologists and physician assistants) compared with radiologists in the interpretation of mammograms; the effect of training; and the question whether there are any studies evaluating the effects of involving radiographers in the interpretation of diagnostic mammograms in daily clinical practice on the sensitivity and specificity of cancer detection in breast imaging. Six studies met the inclusion criteria (primary aim of the study has to be the evaluation of the performance of radiographers, sensitivity and specificity have to be reported or calculable and there has to be a sufficient gold standard). The results showed that, in a screening setting, radiographers scored higher false positive rates with a similar sensitivity in the detection of malignancies, compared with radiologists. Furthermore, results suggested that training could improve their performance. No studies were reported assessing the performance of radiographers interpreting diagnostic mammograms in a consecutive patient population in a daily clinical setting. This indicates a need for a well-designed diagnostic study using an adequate gold standard, in order to evaluate the feasibility of deploying radiographers in the interpretation of diagnostic mammograms in a clinical setting.

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