Assessment of the effect of a comprehensive chest radiograph deep learning model on radiologist reports and patient outcomes: a real-world observational study

December - 21 - 2021

BMJ OpenFirst published December 20, 2021

Authors: Catherine M Jones, Luke Danaher, Michael R Milne, Cyril Tang, Jarrel Seah, Luke Oakden-Rayner, Andrew Johnson, Quinlan D Buchlak, Nazanin Esmaili 


Objectives Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms have been developed to detect imaging features on chest X-ray (CXR) with a comprehensive AI model capable of detecting 124 CXR findings being recently developed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the real-world usefulness of the model as a diagnostic assistance device for radiologists.

Design This prospective real-world multicentre study involved a group of radiologists using the model in their daily reporting workflow to report consecutive CXRs and recording their feedback on level of agreement with the model findings and whether this significantly affected their reporting.

Setting The study took place at radiology clinics and hospitals within a large radiology network in Australia between November and December 2020.

Participants Eleven consultant diagnostic radiologists of varying levels of experience participated in this study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Proportion of CXR cases where use of the AI model led to significant material changes to the radiologist report, to patient management, or to imaging recommendations. Additionally, level of agreement between radiologists and the model findings, and radiologist attitudes towards the model were assessed.

Results Of 2972 cases reviewed with the model, 92 cases (3.1%) had significant report changes, 43 cases (1.4%) had changed patient management and 29 cases (1.0%) had further imaging recommendations. In terms of agreement with the model, 2569 cases showed complete agreement (86.5%). 390 (13%) cases had one or more findings rejected by the radiologist. There were 16 findings across 13 cases (0.5%) deemed to be missed by the model. Nine out of 10 radiologists felt their accuracy was improved with the model and were more positive towards AI poststudy.

Conclusions Use of an AI model in a real-world reporting environment significantly improved radiologist reporting and showed good agreement with radiologists, highlighting the potential for AI diagnostic support to improve clinical practice.


Study reuse is allowed pursuant to the terms of the BMJ Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence.


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