Dynamic Automatic Ultrasound Optimization: Time Savings, Keystroke Savings, and Image Quality

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Abstract

Purpose:

The aims of this study were to evaluate if a dynamic automatic image optimization technique decreases examination time and number of keystrokes while maintaining or improving image quality and to determine if these variables vary with sonographer experience.

Materials and Methods:

Five sonographers of varying experience performed a randomized standard abdominal ultrsonography using manual and automatic techniques on 5 healthy volunteers. The time to perform the examinations and the number of images obtained were recorded, and a keystroke log was maintained for all examinations. Images were stored digitally for review and image analysis. The sonographers graded their pain during the examinations on a 10-point sliding scale.

Results:

The mean scanning time for the manual examination was 9 minutes 43 seconds, whereas the mean time for the Native Tissue Equalization examination was 8 minutes 47 seconds (P = 0.005). The mean number of images per manual examination was 46.1, whereas the mean number of images per Native Tissue Equalization examination was 45.2 (P > 0.05). The individual increases in scanning time of the sonographers were 0.0%, 5.6%, 10.5%, 14.9%, and 15% from the most experienced to the least experienced. The mean number of keystrokes for the manual examination was 975.1, whereas the mean number of keystrokes for the Native Tissue Equalization examination was 767.3 (P = 0.0022). This resulted in a mean decrease of 208 keystrokes per examination. Sonographers rated their pain as less severe with the Native Tissue Equalization.

Conclusions:

Native Tissue Equalization provided a mean decrease in image scan time of 9.6% and a decrease in keystrokes of 21.3%. The decrease in scanning time is correlated to the scanning experience. There was less pain experienced by the sonographer in the Native Tissue Equalization examinations.

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