(HealthDay News) — Radiologist characteristics predict performance in screening mammography, according to a study published online June 22 in Radiology.

Cindy S. Lee, M.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues assessed radiologist characteristics impacting screening mammography interpretation performance using the National Mammography Database (2008 to 2019; 1,223 radiologists) and linked Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services datasets.

The researchers found that compared with radiologists practicing in the Northeast, those in the Midwest were more likely to achieve acceptable recall rate (RR), positive predictive value for abnormal cases at screening (PPV1), PPV for biopsy recommended (PPV2), and cancer detection rate (CDR; odds ratios [ORs], 1.4 to 2.5). Radiologists practicing in the West compared with those practicing in the Northeast were more likely to achieve acceptable RR, PPV2, and PPV for biopsy performed (PPV3; ORs, 1.7 to 2.1) but were less likely to achieve acceptable invasive CDR (OR, 0.6). Breast imagers were more likely to achieve acceptable PPV1, invasive CDR, percentage of ductal carcinoma in situ (%DCIS), and CDR (ORs, 1.4 to 4.4) compared with general radiologists. Radiologists performing breast ultrasound were less likely to achieve acceptable PPV1, PPV2, %DCIS, and CDR (ORs, 0.5 to 0.7).

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“Radiologist practice geography, breast sub-specialization, and performance of diagnostic mammography are associated with better screening mammography performance; performance of breast ultrasound is associated with lower performance,” the authors write.

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