Mammographic interpretation: Radiologists' ability to accurately estimate their performance and compare it with that of their peers

Andrea J. Cook, Joann G. Elmore, Weiwei Zhu, Sara L. Jackson, Patricia A. Carney, Chris Flowers, Tracy Onega, Berta Geller, Robert D. Rosenberg, Diana L. Miglioretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purposes of this study were to determine whether U.S. radiologists accurately estimate their own interpretive performance of screening mammography and to assess how they compare their performance with that of their peers. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Between 2005 and 2006, 174 radiologists from six Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium registries completed a mailed survey. The radiologists' estimated and actual recall, false-positive, and cancer detection rates and positive predictive value of biopsy recommendation (PPV 2) for screening mammography were compared. Radiologists' ratings of their performance as lower than, similar to, or higher than that of their peers were compared with their actual performance. Associations with radiologist characteristics were estimated with weighted generalized linear models. RESULTS. Although most radiologists accurately estimated their cancer detection and recall rates (74% and 78% of radiologists), fewer accurately estimated their false-positive rate (19%) and PPV2 (26%). Radiologists reported having recall rates similar to (43%) or lower than (31%) and false-positive rates similar to (52%) or lower than (33%) those of their peers and similar (72%) or higher (23%) cancer detection rates and similar (72%) or higher (38%) PPV 2. Estimation accuracy did not differ by radiologist characteristics except that radiologists who interpreted 1000 or fewer mammograms annually were less accurate at estimating their recall rates. CONCLUSION. Radiologists perceive their performance to be better than it actually is and at least as good as that of their peers. Radiologists have particular difficulty estimating their false-positive rates and PPV 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-702
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Breast cancer screening
  • Mammography
  • Radiologist performance
  • Self-evaluation of clinical performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Mammographic interpretation: Radiologists' ability to accurately estimate their performance and compare it with that of their peers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this