Teaching search patterns to medical trainees in an educational laboratory to improve perception of pulmonary nodules.

Academic Article


  • The goal of this research is to demonstrate that teaching healthcare trainees a formal search or scan pattern for evaluation of the lungs improves their ability to identify pulmonary nodules on chest radiographs (CXRs). A group of physician assistant trainees were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups. Each group was shown two sets of CXRs, each set with a nodule prevalence of approximately 50%. The experimental group received search pattern training between case sets, whereas the control group did not. Both groups were asked to mark nodules when present and indicate their diagnostic confidence. Subject performance at nodule detection was quantified using changes in area under the localization receiver operating characteristic curve ([Formula: see text]). There was no significant improvement in performance between case sets for the control group. There was a significant improvement in subject performance after training for the experimental group, [Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]. These results demonstrate that teaching a search pattern to trainees improves their ability to identify nodules and decreases the number of perceptual errors in nodule identification, and suggest that our knowledge of medical image perception may be used to develop rational tools for the education of healthcare trainees.
  • Published In


  • education, imaging, perception, radiology, training
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Auffermann WF; Little BP; Tridandapani S
  • Start Page

  • 011006
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 1