Batch reading is the process of reading multiple breast cancer screens at a time, without interruption. This improves screening accuracy by allowing radiologists to better focus on and interpret each mammogram.
What batch reading looks like in practice
The key to effective batch reading is providing radiologists with a dark, quiet space and dedicated time to read mammograms without interruption. The number of scans to be read in one sitting can range from 40 to 100, depending on the organization.
Most Canadian provinces call for batch reading, but how it is supported varies from clinic to clinic. One clinic has a central facility where radiologists go to do batch readings. The work station is in an enclosed room away from the general clinic areas and fitted with blackout curtains. Most provinces and territories also compare current mammograms with at least two previous scans when available.
How to put this approach into action
Following these steps will help breast cancer screening programs implement this approach:
- Make batch reading standard practice.
- Ensure dedicated dark and quiet space is available to radiologists to complete batch reads.
- Continue to compare current mammograms with two or more prior mammograms.
What is needed to succeed
- Appropriate conditions
- Separation of diagnostic and screening reads
Challenges to overcome
- Delays caused by having to accumulate a batch of scans before reading
- Lack of infrastructure to compare previous mammograms of different types
- Resources required to collect previous mammograms
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