Women Don’t Want AI to Read Their Mammograms

22 October 2020 - Ci Magazine
Women Don't Want AI to Read Their Mammograms.
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A new study shows that women don’t want Artificial Intelligent (AI) to read their mammograms. Despite the breakthroughs with AI, this study has found that 75% of women will prefer a radiologist to be involved in screening their studies.

In a study published Oct. 12 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, a team of investigators from the University of Groningen, in The Netherlands, revealed that, when asked whether they were comfortable with having AI alone analyze their mammograms for signs of breast cancer, 78 percent of women surveyed said no.

In fast, AI has been found to outperform radiologists time-and-time again. The fact is that radiologists see, on average, 150 patients a day. A human mind reviewing 150 images is bound to make mistakes that a machine will not. AI can also spot things that a radiologist might not be looking at, such as breast density.

Given these advancements and study results that show AI can outperform radiologists, women’s response is surprising. However, does that mean that AI should pump the brakes on implementing AI as the sole interpreter of studies?

It may be better advised to educate women about how the algorithms work. Ultimately, improving the public’s perceptions about AI is critical. Why is this?

The number of radiologists qualified to read mammograms in many regions has become smaller and smaller.

The studies were published Oct. 12 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology by a team of investigators from the University of Groningen, in The Netherlands

The team’s survey results also showed when it comes to using AI as a second read on select studies, 42 percent disagreed, 31 percent agreed, and 27 percent were undecided.

Ph.D. assistant professor, Yfke Ongena, had her team reached their conclusion after conducting a survey of 922 women, ages 16 to 75, in two waves. They included women ages 16 to 40 because they represent the next generation of women who will undergo routine screening mammography. First, they collected responses from December 2018 and, then, from April 2020. The team asked women for their feeling about the necessity of a human check, AI as a second reader, AI as a selector for second reading, and whether developers or radiologists were responsible for errors.

Their goal was to determine how women feel about having AI interpret their mammograms considering how the mainstream press has portrayed these tools in a largely positive manner. They initially predicted that women’s responses would be in support of AI.

Based on the survey responses, they were wrong. Still, the team concluded, there is room for AI to gain acceptance as a second reader that supports the radiologist. Only 17 percent of women categorically opposed using the tool in collaboration with her radiologist.

“The combination of a radiologist as a first read and an AI system as a second reader seems to be the most acceptable approach to the population at present, although still not fully embraced by the entire population,” they said. “Improved information supply and education about the development, possibilities, and limitations of AI algorithms in screening mammography may potentially overcome some of the perceived obstacles and increase acceptance of this new technique in clinical practice.”

Another thing the study noted was the women who opposed AI reported having lower levels of education. So the best thing that the medical industry can do from now is begin circulating knowledge to young people about the potentials of AI.

Another significant limitation of the study was that not all countries may have resources available to process mammograms at the level of the university, whose country ensures scans are interpreted by at least two radiologists.

In the U.S., breast cancer screenings are only routinely covered by Medicare.

Women’s opinions in these cases are extremely crucial.

“The voice of the population who will undergo AI-based diagnostic tests is crucial in this context, because it is a determining factor for the boundaries within which an AI system is allowed to operate,” they said. “The success of a breast cancer screening program depends on the willingness of subjects to participate, and the willingness may be affected if AI systems are used without taking into account the population’s wishes, concerns, and objections.”

With the pending CMS cuts and struggling economy, widespread use of AI in the US may take some time. So now is the perfect time for every practice to emphasize the important of AI.

Read Full Study Here.