An automated lung nodule matching program can improve radiologists’ efficiency almost two-fold, a first-of-its-kind study shows.
The study, led by Chi Wan Koo, MD, found that the time required for manual nodule matching ranged from 1 second to about 11.4 minutes, whereas automated nodule matching ranged from less than one second to about 6.6 minutes.
“Our study demonstrated that utilization of the software would improve efficiency of interpreting lung nodule follow-up studies,” said Koo in an email correspondence.
The study was conducted at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York and included 57 patients, yielding a total of 325 pulmonary nodules identified on CT. Four thoracic radiologists manually identified and matched the pulmonary nodules on serial CT examinations while being timed. After six weeks, all four radiologists evaluated the same CT studies using automated nodule matching software and were timed again.
The study found that accuracy was not sacrificed for efficiency. “The interpreting radiologists indicated that the automated program correctly matched nodules anywhere from 79% to 92% of the time,” said Koo in the press release.
“Prior studies have evaluated automated nodule matching accuracy, however no study to our knowledge has assessed the impact of a nodule matching program use on CT interpretation efficiency, where efficiency entails both accuracy and speed,” Koo said.
According to Koo, the use of lung nodule matching software is not widespread since it is typically installed on a separate workstation. “Integration of such a program into the PACS, where it may be utilized routinely, would expedite CT exam interpretation and improve workflow,” she added in an email correspondence.