Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the costs and effects of using specialized breast technologists in prereading mammograms to reduce the increasing workload of radiologists in daily clinical practice. Mammography is the most widely used imaging modality for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.
Methods: A total of 1389 mammograms of consecutive patients were evaluated by two technologists trained in mammogram interpretation. The costs and effects of four different experimental strategies of prereading mammograms by technologists were analyzed by decision analytic modeling and compared with the conventional strategy of standard evaluation by the radiologist on duty.
Results: Overall, the employment of technologists in this patient population resulted in a potential time saving up to 73 percent (1019/1389) for the radiologist. No additional false-negative imaging results were found as compared to the conventional strategy. The total diagnostic costs in the conventional strategy were determined at €150,602. The experimental strategies resulted in cost savings up to 17.2 percent (range, €122,494–€139,781).
Conclusions: The employment of technologists in prereading mammograms in a clinical patient population could be effective to reduce the workload of radiologists without jeopardizing the detection of malignancies. Furthermore, diagnostic costs can be reduced considerably.