Immediate Mammogram Reading Reduces Disparities and Increases Workflow

Reading screening mammograms immediately is “a new paradigm for improved screening mammography workflow that allows more rapid diagnostic workup.” In addition, it “reduced prior racial and ethnic disparities in same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms,” wrote the authors of a study published September 8, 2021, in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

“A team led by Dr. Brian Dontchos from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that their immediate-read screening mammography program reduced prior racial and ethnic disparities by increasing the odds of having same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms,” reported Allegretto.

According to Dontchos, et al, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented an immediate-read screening mammography program to reduce patient visits and decrease time to diagnostic imaging,” because “[t]he need for second visits between screening mammograms and diagnostic imaging contributes to disparities in the time to breast cancer diagnosis.” Pre- and post-implementation screenings were included in the study. “Pre-implementation, patients with other races had significantly lower odds than White patients of same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening examinations (adjusted odds ratio: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.86; p=.03). Post-implementation, odds of same-day diagnostic imaging was not significantly different between patients with other races and White patients (adjusted odds ratio: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.50, 1.71; p=.80). Post-implementation, patients with and without same-day diagnostic imaging after abnormal screening mammograms showed no significant difference in race and ethnicity (p>.05). Abnormal interpretation rate was significantly lower post-implementation than pre-implementation (5.0% vs 6.3%, respectively; p<.001). Pre- and post-implementation periods were not significantly different (p>.05) in cancer detection rate or PPV1.”


Dontchos, Brian N. and Achibiri, Janeiro and Mercaldo, Sarah F. and Wang, Gary X. and Lamb, Leslie R. and Miles, Randy C. and Narayan, Anand K. and Lehman, Constance D. Same-Day Diagnostic Imaging in Breast Cancer Screening: Impact of an Immediate-Read Screening Mammography Program Implemented During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American Journal of Roentgenology. Doi
10.2214/AJR.21.26597. Accessed September 20, 2021.

Allegretto, Amerigo. “Immediately reading mammograms helps with workflow, disparities.” September 10, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021, at