Does PACS improve diagnostic accuracy in chest radiograph interpretations in clinical practice?
OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) on the diagnostic accuracy of the interpretation of chest radiology examinations in a "real life" radiology setting. MATERIALS AND METHODS: During a period before PACS was introduced to radiologists, when images were still interpreted on film and reported on paper, images and reports were also digitally stored in an image database. The same database was used after the PACS introduction. This provided a unique opportunity to conduct a blinded retrospective study, comparing sensitivity (the main outcome parameter) in the pre and post-PACS periods. We selected 56 digitally stored chest radiograph examinations that were originally read and reported on film, and 66 examinations that were read and reported on screen 2 years after the PACS introduction. Each examination was assigned a random number, and both reports and images were scored independently for pathological findings. The blinded retrospective score for the original reports were then compared with the score for the images (the gold standard). RESULTS: Sensitivity was improved after the PACS introduction. When both certain and uncertain findings were included, this improvement was statistically significant. There were no other statistically significant changes. CONCLUSION: The result is consistent with prospective studies concluding that diagnostic accuracy is at least not reduced after PACS introduction. The sensitivity may even be improved.
Hurlen, P; Borthne, A; Dahl, FA; Ostbye, T; Gulbrandsen, P
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