The Role of Computer-Aided Detection in Diagnostic Medical Imaging

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The Role of Computer-Aided Detection in Diagnostic Medical Imaging

Innovation and Imaging
Methods of improving the acquisition, display and interpretation of diagnostic medical images have been in a constant state of innovation since the discovery of x-ray in eighteen ninety-five (1895). The biggest changes have occurred along with and largely because of incredible advancements in computer technology. Medical imaging developers have harnessed computer technologies to perform tasks that have helped shape the typical diagnostic imaging department into an indispensable part of the diagnostic team.

Computerized Tomography
As computer power and speed has increased so has its utility in diagnostic imaging. As an example, look at the
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Information Overload
Of course, no advancement this revolutionary could arrive without its challenges. As Geoffrey Rubin (2005) explains, “Although higher spatial resolution…allows the detection of smaller nodules, one drawback…is that many more transverse reconstructions are generated than with thick-section techniques”(p.275). The transverse sections that Dr. Rubin describes are the CT “slices” that a radiologist must review in the process of interpreting the examination. Rubin (2005) goes on to state that, The Radiologist must evaluate, “…ten times the number of images that previously had to be examined” (p.275). Compounding this increase in single examination workload is the tremendous increase in the number of exams performed each day. The task of interpreting all of these images is simply daunting.

Demand Outweighs Supply
Another complicating factor is that there has been a huge increase in the use of radiologic imaging; unfortunately, this trend is outpacing the number of trained radiologists available to interpret all of these studies (Summers, 2003, p.11). “Computer-aided detection has been proposed as a solution to interpretation of the ever-expanding amount of radiologic information” (Summers, 2003, p.11). The expansion of CAD into new applications to ease this workload, it seems, is inevitable. Radiologists are in short supply and patient

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