Purpose: A number of studies have previously assessed the role of teaching interventions to improve organ-at-risk (OAR) delineation. We present a preliminary study demonstrating the benefit of a combined atlas and real time software-based feedback intervention to aid in contouring of OARs in the head and neck. Methods and Materials: The study consisted of a baseline evaluation, a real-time feedback intervention, atlas presentation, and a follow-up evaluation. At baseline evaluation, 8 resident observers contoured 26 OARs on a computed tomography scan without intervention or aid. They then received feedback comparing their contours both statistically and graphically to a set of atlas-based expert contours. Additionally, they received access to an atlas to contour these structures. The resident observers were then asked to contour the same 26 OARs on a separate computed tomography scan with atlas access. In addition, 6 experts (5 radiation oncologists specializing in the head and neck, and 1 neuroradiologist) contoured the 26 OARs on both scans. A simultaneous truth and performance level estimation (STAPLE) composite of the expert contours was used as a gold-standard set for analysis of OAR contouring. Results: Of the 8 resident observers who initially participated in the study, 7 completed both phases of the study. Dice similarity coefficients were calculated for each user-drawn structure relative to the expert STAPLE composite for each structure. Mean dice similarity coefficients across all structures increased between phase 1 and phase 2 for each resident observer, demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in overall OAR-contouring ability (P < .01). Additionally, intervention improved contouring in 16/26 delineated organs-at-risk across resident observers at a statistically significant level (P ≤ .05) including all otic structures and suprahyoid lymph node levels of the head and neck. Conclusions: Our data suggest that a combined atlas and real-time feedback-based educational intervention detectably improves contouring of OARs in the head and neck.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging