Report: Canada health system was warned of mammo monitor problems

2019 02 12 23 11 2325 Canada Flag 400

A health system in Canada that is reviewing thousands of mammograms originally interpreted with substandard medical displays was warned about the problem years previously, according to a news report.

A radiologist who formerly worked at Central Health in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador said she warned health authorities about problems in its mammography program in 2019, but she claimed her warnings were ignored, according to an article published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Central Health announced in August that it was beginning a review of thousands of screening mammograms acquired at its sites for the past three years. The system said that these mammograms were interpreted with 3-megapixel medical displays, when established guidelines in Canada call for higher-resolution 5-megapixel displays to be used for mammography.

In the new CBC article, Dr. Jane Rendell said she told both the provincial government and regional health authority about issues in the health system's mammography program in 2019. Specifically, she said the breast screening program at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in the city of Grand Falls-Windsor wasn't accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists. That meant it hadn't gone through quality checks that might have found the problem.

The article said that in addition to Central Health, other health authorities in the region have discovered that mammograms were interpreted on 3-megapixel rather than 5-megapixel monitors and need to be reinterpreted.

The story also raised the issue of whether there are differences between 3-megapixel and 5-megapixel monitors that would be discernible to the human eye. The CBC quoted several radiologists who said it might not make a difference, but Rendell maintains that the higher resolution can help pick up small features like microcalcifications.

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