Comparison of paper print and soft copy reading in plain paediatric radiographs
With the introduction of a Picture Archiving and Communication System, Computed (CR) and Digital Radiography (DR), reading digital images takes place from a computer screen. Laser paper print rather than laser film would be a significantly more cost-effective option for hard copy production, but would need to demonstrate acceptable diagnostic quality compared to the reference standard of screen reading. A comparative study of 51 digital paediatric CR radiographs presented in laser paper print and soft copy format to determine the diagnostic value of the paper print when compared to the reference standard of screen reading. Chest radiography had a poor sensitivity of 66.1% while musculoskeletal and abdominal radiography had acceptable sensitivities of 90% and 99%, respectively. Specificity was excellent for the different regions (98.6-99.5%). The paper print format should not be used for diagnostic purposes in paediatric chest radiography, but may still be used for demonstration when accompanied by the radiology rapport obtained from soft copy reading. Further studies would be needed to investigate the use of paper prints in abdominal and musculoskeletal radiography owing to the low number of abdominal radiographs and lack of musculoskeletal case variety in our study. © 2009 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.