Satisfaction of Search in Diagnostic Radiology

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A subset of underreading errors (false-negative responses) in radiology has been attributed to “satisfaction of search,” which occurs when lesions remain undetected after detection of an initial lesion. This phenomenon has not been studied in the experimental laboratory. A primary goal of this study was to develop a procedure or paradigm to study satisfaction of search. The authors measured detection accuracy for native lesions in images before and after the addition of a simulated nodular lesion. Simulated and native lesions were not spatially superimposed and the native abnormalities were physically identical with and without the nodules. Only responses related to the native lesion were analyzed. Accuracy parameters of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were estimated by the method of maximum likelihood and jackknife. The average perceptual accuracy of the individual ROC curves as measured by Az and de was significantly reduced with addition of the nodules (t = 2.364, p = 0.025, t = 2.648, p = 0.017, respectively). Az and de parameters of the pooled ROC curve showed a similar effect (t = 1.573, p = 0.080; t = 1.934, p = 0.047, respectively). The results indicated a substantial satisfaction-of-search effect, with diminished accuracy in perception of native lesions.

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