Model observer

Conventional physical methods to determine image quality are very suitable to assess the technical performance of imaging systems. But they are not usable to establish a relation between the result of physical measurements and the diagnostic performance of the radiologist.

New type model observer
Model observers are mathematical models of the human observer. These currently receive a lot of attention as a means to better assess the diagnostic potential of images, and consequently the performance of the radiologist.

The LRCB has made presentations on the development and evaluation of model observers at the International Workshop on Digital Mammography in 2014 and at the SPIE Medical Imaging congres in 2015. They showed that several model observers are capable of predicting the performance of the human observer (radiologist) under specific conditions. This research is continued in 2015, aiming to further develop the various models, and consequently improve and expand applicability.

In addition to the research on and into model observers, the CLUES project also focuses on the development of anthropomorphic phantoms of the breast. To this end, 3D printing is used. Images (mammographic or tomosynthesis) of these phantoms can subsequently be assessed by the model observers. The final goal is that the combination of model observers and anthropomorphic phantoms results in a fast, efficient and objective framework to assess the interrelation of image quality and the clinical task.

In the end, the combination of model observers and the aforementioned phantoms should for example be used to evaluate image processing and new developments like tomosynthesis. Within this scope, Fujifilm has installed the Innovality mammography system at the LRCB, in order to work together with the LRCB on the evaluation of their system using the aforementioned model observers.

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