Real-Time Full Field Direct Digital Telemammography
Final rept. 16 Sep 1996-15 Sep 2000
CALIFORNIA UNIV SAN FRANCISCO
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This research investigates an important application of full-field direct digital mammography FFDDM telemammography, the electronic transfer of digital mammography images to remote viewing sites. This should permit radiologists with great interpretive expertise to manage and read in real time all mammography examinations in a multiple-site practice, an approach that is theoretically superior to either deferred interpretation by expert readers or real-time interpretation by general radiologists. We have acquired a large data set of FFDDM cases, demonstrated that the time involved in data transmission and off-site image interpretation is shorter than the corresponding time for on-site image processing and interpretation of conventional film mammograms, and shown that remote interpretation of FFDDM images by expert mammographers is somewhat more effective than conventional film interpretation by general diagnostic radiologists statistical significance demonstrated, but follow-up of non-biopsied cases not yet sufficiently long to reach a firm conclusion. By showing that telemammography technology can be developed for routine clinical operation, and that real-time off-site management and interpretation of a general-radiologist mammography practice by mammography specialists is feasible as standard operating procedure, we expect to establish telemammography applications of digital radiography as both valid and useful. The application of these procedures to routine mammographic examinations should bring to bear the expertise of mammography specialists at the community-practice general-radiologist level. This should benefit all women undergoing mammography in the future.
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