Construction of mammographic examination process ontology using bottom–up hierarchical task analysis

Ayako Yagahara, Yuki Yokooka, Guoqian Jiang, Shintarou Tsuji, Akihisa Fukuda, Naoki Nishimoto, Kunio Kurowarabi, Katsuhiko Ogasawara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Describing complex mammography examination processes is important for improving the quality of mammograms. It is often difficult for experienced radiologic technologists to explain the process because their techniques depend on their experience and intuition. In our previous study, we analyzed the process using a new bottom–up hierarchical task analysis and identified key components of the process. Leveraging the results of the previous study, the purpose of this study was to construct a mammographic examination process ontology to formally describe the relationships between the process and image evaluation criteria to improve the quality of mammograms. First, we identified and created root classes: task, plan, and clinical image evaluation (CIE). Second, we described an “is-a” relation referring to the result of the previous study and the structure of the CIE. Third, the procedural steps in the ontology were described using the new properties: “isPerformedBefore,” “isPerformedAfter,” and “isPerformedAfterIfNecessary.” Finally, the relationships between tasks and CIEs were described using the “isAffectedBy” property to represent the influence of the process on image quality. In total, there were 219 classes in the ontology. By introducing new properties related to the process flow, a sophisticated mammography examination process could be visualized. In relationships between tasks and CIEs, it became clear that the tasks affecting the evaluation criteria related to positioning were greater in number than those for image quality. We developed a mammographic examination process ontology that makes knowledge explicit for a comprehensive mammography process. Our research will support education and help promote knowledge sharing about mammography examination expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalRadiological Physics and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Clinical image evaluation
  • Mammographic process
  • Ontology
  • Radiologic technologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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