28 March 2013 The effect of viewing distance on observer performance in skeletal radiographs
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A number of different viewing distances are recommended by international agencies, however none with specific reference to radiologist performance. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the extent to which radiologists performance is affected by viewing distance on softcopy skeletal reporting. Eighty dorsi-palmar (DP) wrist radiographs, of which half feature 1 or more fractures, were viewed by seven observers at 2 viewing distances, 30cm and 70cm. Observers rated the images as normal or not on a scale of 1 to 5 and could mark multiple locations on the images when they visualised a fracture. Viewing distance was measured from the centre of the face plate to the outer canthus of the eye. The DBM MRM analysis showed no statistically significant differences between the area under the curve for the two distances (p = 0.482). The JAFROC analysis, however, demonstrated a statistically significantly higher area under the curve with the 30cm viewing distance than with the 70 cm distance (p = 0.035). This suggests that while observers were able to make decisions about whether an image contained a fracture or not equally well at both viewing distances, they may have been less reliable in terms of fracture localisation or detection of multiple fractures. The impact of viewing distance warrants further attention from both clinical and scientific perspectives.
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M. L. Butler, M. L. Butler, J. Lowe, J. Lowe, R. J. Toomey, R. J. Toomey, M. Maher, M. Maher, M. E. Evanoff, M. E. Evanoff, L. Rainford, L. Rainford, "The effect of viewing distance on observer performance in skeletal radiographs", Proc. SPIE 8673, Medical Imaging 2013: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 867315 (28 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2007748; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2007748

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