Improving Performance of Mammographic Breast Positioning in an Academic Radiology Practice AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ROENTGENOLOGY Pal, S., Ikeda, D. M., Jesinger, R. A., Mickelsen, L., Chen, C. A., Larson, D. B. 2018; 210 (4): 807–15


The purpose of this project was to achieve sustained improvement in mammographic breast positioning in our department.Between June 2013 and December 2016, we conducted a team-based performance improvement initiative with the goal of improving mammographic positioning. The team of technologists and radiologists established quantitative measures of positioning performance based on American College of Radiology (ACR) criteria, audited at least 35 mammograms per week for positioning quality, displayed performance in dashboards, provided technologists with positioning training, developed a supportive environment fostering technologist and radiologist communication surrounding mammographic positioning, and employed a mammography positioning coach to develop, improve, and maintain technologist positioning performance. Statistical significance in changes in the percentage of mammograms passing the ACR criteria were evaluated using a two-proportion z test.A baseline mammogram audit performed in June 2013 showed that 67% (82/122) met ACR passing criteria for positioning. Performance improved to 80% (588/739; p < 0.01) after positioning training and technologist and radiologist agreement on positioning criteria. With individual technologist feedback, positioning further improved, with 91% of mammograms passing ACR criteria (p < 0.01). Seven months later, performance temporarily decreased to 80% but improved to 89% with implementation of a positioning coach. The overall mean performance of 91% has been sustained for 23 months. The program cost approximately $30,000 to develop, $42,000 to launch, and $25,000 per year to maintain. Almost all costs were related to personnel time.Dedicated performance improvement methods may achieve significant and sustained improvement in mammographic breast positioning, which may better enable facilities to pass the recently instated Enhancing Quality Using the Inspection Program portion of a practice's annual Mammography Quality Standards Act inspections.

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