An image quality review programme in a population‐based mammography screening service
Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences
Mammography is one of the most technically demanding radiographic processes, and mammography quality assurance initiatives are priorities in the implementation of public health screening services. In the optimisation of image quality (IQ), radiographers play a major role. Between 1998 and 2009, the steering committee for mammography of a large population-based screening service in northern Italy undertook several audit checks of the imaging facilities. In 2009, the target age range of the
... ing service was extended. The mammogram volume was projected to increase steeply but with no substantial increase in the radiographer workforce. In view of the potential impact on mammographic IQ, the passive audit approach was abandoned in favour of an active radiographer-oriented IQ review programme. Its technical basis consists of regularly repeated rounds of review of random samples of digital mammograms performed by each first-level radiographer and by more experienced local reference radiographers, with IQ classification, followed by a training effort and a monitoring work. The mammogram volume grew from 140,822 in 2008 to 319,394 in 2014 (+127%) and then stabilised. In 2012, the proportion of mammograms with a poor IQ rose from 0.6% to 19.3%, paralleled by a substantial decrease of mammograms interpreted to have a moderate and perfect IQ. Conversely, a generalised improvement occurred in both rounds of 2016 and in the first round of 2018. In the new challenging scenario, the programme proved to be effective. A successful IQ review initiative is one that encourages radiographers to participate with a positive and confident attitude.