Improved interobserver variation after training of doctors in the Neer system. A randomised trial

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2002 Sep;84(7):950-4. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.84b7.13010.


We investigated whether training doctors to classify proximal fractures of the humerus according to the Neer system could improve interobserver agreement. Fourteen doctors were randomised to two training sessions, or to no training, and asked to categorise 42 unselected pairs of plain radiographs of fractures of the proximal humerus according to the Neer system. The mean kappa difference between the training and control groups was 0.30 (95% CI 0.10 to 0.50, p = 0.006). In the training group the mean kappa value for interobserver variation improved from 0.27 (95% CI 0.24 to 0.31) to 0.62 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.67). The improvement was particularly notable for specialists in whom kappa increased from 0.30 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.37) to 0.79 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.88). These results suggest that formal training in the Neer system is a prerequisite for its use in clinical practice and research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Humeral Fractures / classification*
  • Humeral Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Inservice Training
  • Observer Variation
  • Orthopedics / education*
  • Radiography