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Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) screening necessitates training more users to
interpret digital images, as well as facilitating computer-based training employing
a range of display devices. The feasibility of training naïve observers to examine
mammographic images using different forms of vision-supported training on a PC monitor
A set of recent screening cases were first examined by an experienced radiologist
and both his visual search behaviour and verbal commentary recorded. Twenty naive
observers were then familiarised with abnormal mammographic appearance, concentrating
on masses and calcifications. They were then split into four different training groups
(examining mammographic images with: overlay of the radiologist's visual search; playback
of the radiologist's commentary; mammographic regions of interest highlighted; or
only regions of interest presented) using 20 two-view cases and a control group. Before
and after training, each participant was tested on a set of 21 cases and required
to identify whether an abnormality was present. Participants' eye-movements were recorded
and a 21'' LCD monitor was used throughout to view the images.
Examination of visual search and performance data, pre- and post-training, indicated
that only 14% of responses identified the correct features and their locations. Errors
were due to search (>60%), detection (<20%) and interpretation (<18%) factors. Approaches
that emphasised the region of interest around an abnormality caused observers to fixate
these areas for longer periods and produced fewer errors.
The introduction of FFDM allows a variety of displays and computer-based approaches
to be used for training purposes.