Soft-copy versus hard-copy cranial sonography: Intraobserver agreement and workstation efficiency

Steven Don, Gregory G. Reiker, Charles Hildebolt, Garyd Shackelford, William H. McAlister, Robert Ryerson, G. James Blaine, Marilyn J. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The objective of the study was to determine the intraobserver agreement, confidence level, and efficiency in interpretation of soft-copy (workstation) versus hard-copy (laser-printed film) sonograms of the cranium. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Cranial sonograms of 100 premature infants were randomly reviewed twice on both soft-copy and hard-copy images by three observers and were graded for hemorrhage using a five-level scale. The kappa statistic was calculated to measure intraobserver agreement. Differences in agreement were tested for statistical significance with a test for marginal. Observers rated their confidence in interpretation using a six-point ordinal scale. Total viewing time was recorded, and videotaped sessions were analyzed for image handling time (opening each case, closing each case, and selecting the next case) and interpretation time. RESULTS. For soft copy versus hard copy, the mean kappa value was .73; for hard-copy 1 versus hard-copy 2, .71; and for soft-copy 1 versus soft-copy 2, .65. None of these differences was statistically significant (p > .05). The mean confidence score was the same for soft copy (5.3) and hard copy (5.3). On average, the observers needed 24 min longer to review 100 studies on soft copy than on hard copy. Opening and closing times for soft copy were significantly faster than for hard copy (p = .0001); however, case selection for soft copy, which was not needed for hard copy, took 4.69-9.09 sec per case. Extrapolated to 100 cases, case selection accounted for 8-15 min of viewing time. CONCLUSION. Radiologist agreement and confidence in the interpretation of cranial sonograms for hemorrhage was the same for soft copy and hard copy. However, viewing times were longer for soft copy. Elimination of inefficiency in case selection could improve image- handling time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-561
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997


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