Strategies for Decreasing Screening Mammography Recall Rates While Maintaining Performance Metrics

Lisa A. Mullen, Babita Panigrahi, Jacqueline Hollada, Benita Panigrahi, Eniola T. Falomo, Susan Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale and Objective: This study aimed to determine the impact of interventions designed to reduce screening mammography recall rates on screening performance metrics. Materials and Methods: We assessed baseline performance for full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and digital breast tomosynthesis mammography (DBT) for a 3-year period before intervention. The first intervention sought to increase awareness of recalls from screening mammography. Breast imagers discussed their perceptions regarding screening recalls and were required to review their own recalled cases, including outcomes of diagnostic evaluation and biopsy. The second intervention implemented consensus double reading of all recalls, requiring two radiologists to agree if recall was necessary. Recall rates, cancer detection rates, and positive predictive value 1 (PPV1) were compared before and after each intervention. Results: The baseline recall rate, cancer detection rate, and PPV1 were 11.1%, 3.8/1000, and 3.4%, respectively, for FFDM, and 7.6%, 4.8/1000, and 6.0%, respectively, for DBT. Recall rates decreased significantly to 9.2% for FFDM and to 6.6% for DBT after the first intervention promoting awareness, as well as to 9.9% for FFDM after the second intervention implementing group consensus. PPV1 increased significantly to 5.7% for FFDM and to 9.0% for DBT after the second intervention. Cancer detection rate did not significantly change with the implementation of these interventions. An average of 2.3 minutes was spent consulting for each recall. Conclusion: Reduction in recall rates is desirable, provided performance metrics remain favorable. Our interventions improved performance and could be implemented in other breast imaging settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Radiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Digital breast tomosynthesis
  • Mammographic screening
  • Recall from screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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