-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who underwent
mammography screening at a hospital were more likely to be called
back for additional testing than those who had mammography at a
private practice, a new study found.
Recalls cause anxiety and additional costs for patients and
there have been efforts to keep recall rates as low as possible,
the researchers said. They added that recall rates are used by the
U.S. government as a quality measure for breast cancer screening,
and these findings illustrate the limitations of doing so.
The study authors analyzed data on more than 74,000 screening
mammograms that were conducted at either a hospital or a private
practice between May 2008 and September 2011 and reviewed by five
radiologists. Both sites used the same type of mammography
technology and interpretation method.
The overall recall rate was 7.8 percent, but the 6.9 percent
recall rate at the community practice was much lower than the 8.6
percent recall rate at the hospital, according to the findings
published online July 24 in the journal
"For every radiologist, the recall rate was significantly lower in community practice than in the hospital setting," study author Dr. Ana Lourenco, a radiologist at the Rhode Island Hospital and the School of Medicine at Brown University, said in a journal news release.
Further analysis revealed important differences that may have
affected recall rates, including the fact that many more of the
hospital patients had undergone previous surgery (13 percent) and
biopsies (7 percent) than the patients at the private practice, 5.6
percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
"These patients may have more complicated mammograms to interpret or may be at higher risk for cancer than patients at the community site," Lourenco said. "Higher-risk patients would be expected to increase the recall rate of the population."
Another important factor was age. The average age of hospital
patients was 56, compared with 63 for patients at the private
"Younger age has been associated with higher recall rates," Lourenco explained.
She said that while efforts to develop measures of quality for
breast cancer screening are commendable, recall rates can be
affected by uncontrollable factors and, therefore, cannot be used
alone to determine the quality of a radiologist or facility.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
breast cancer screening.
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