Carney PA, Abraham L, Cook A, Feig SA, Sickles EA, Miglioretti DL, Geller BM, Yankaskas BC, Elmore JG. Acad Radiol. 2012 Sep;19(9):1114-20. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 23.


The aim of this study was to describe the impact of a tailored Web-based educational program designed to reduce excessive screening mammography recall.

Radiologists enrolled in one of four mammography registries in the United States were invited to take part and were randomly assigned to receive the intervention or to serve as controls. The controls were offered the intervention at the end of the study, and data collection included an assessment of their clinical practice as well. The intervention provided each radiologist with individual audit data for his or her sensitivity, specificity, recall rate, positive predictive value, and cancer detection rate compared to national benchmarks and peer comparisons for the same measures; profiled breast cancer risk in each radiologist’s respective patient populations to illustrate how low breast cancer risk is in population-based settings; and evaluated the possible impact of medical malpractice concerns on recall rates. Participants’ recall rates from actual practice were evaluated for three time periods: the 9 months before the intervention was delivered to the intervention group (baseline period), the 9 months between the intervention and control groups (T1), and the 9 months after completion of the intervention by the controls (T2). Logistic regression models examining the probability that a mammogram was recalled included indication of intervention versus control and time period (baseline, T1, and T2). Interactions between the groups and time period were also included to determine if the association between time period and the probability of a positive result differed across groups.

Thirty-one radiologists who completed the continuing medical education intervention were included in the adjusted model comparing radiologists in the intervention group (n = 22) to radiologists who completed the intervention in the control group (n = 9). At T1, the intervention group had 12% higher odds of positive mammographic results compared to the controls, after controlling for baseline (odds ratio, 1.12; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.27; P = .0569). At T2, a similar association was found, but it was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.25). No associations were found among radiologists in the control group when comparing those who completed the continuing medical education intervention (n = 9) to those who did not (n = 10). In addition, no associations were found between time period and recall rate among radiologists who set realistic goals.

This study resulted in a null effect, which may indicate that a single 1-hour intervention is not adequate to change excessive recall among radiologists who undertook the intervention being tested.