It’s hard to believe
that radiologists can actually detect with some degree of certainty arterially
enhancing lesions, the patency of vessels, or even evaluate abnormalities all on
an iPhone! But can they really?
everyday people, like me, smart phones are incredibly useful. I love my iPhone
not just because I can view the Internet as it actually looks on my laptop –
once my fingers do the zooming – but I can shoot videos to capture a great
moment, Shazam any song I want to download, and comparison shop with my bar
can’t an app do? OK, it can’t drive a car, yet, but the iPhone officially can
be used by radiologists to do diagnostic reads on medical imaging exams. In
case you haven’t heard, the FDA gave the green light to a certain diagnostic
imaging software product indicated for use on an iPhone and iPad. And now a
wave of PACS apps
are flooding the market.
what can an app do that a PACS workstation can’t? For radiologists’ working
with referring physicians, they can send reports with the images to the
doctors’ smartphone or tablet, which the doctor can then use to show patients
what’s going on inside. This is your carotid artery…this is your carotid artery
in 3D…any questions?
cool factor is pretty compelling indeed, noted Randall Stenoien, MD, President, Innovative
Radiology, PA, and CEO of Houston Medical Imaging, LLC. Dr. Stenoien agrees
that referring doctors are the principal adopters of mobile imaging apps:
“The mobile app is a Web-based interface using PACS, which is going to be
browser agnostic – whether you’re using Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer.
That, for me, is going to make a huge difference in my practice for referring
docs. Using an iPad, the referring doctor can log in to see their patients’
images without having to push the images at all,” he said in an article
mobilize radiology,” which appeared in the May issue of Applied Radiology (AR).
is a lot of potential for radiologists too. One caveat, though — the FDA cleared a PACS for diagnostic reads on an iPhone or iPad, but restricted use to only when a diagnostic PACS workstation is not available. The irony is the
iPhone and iPad (in some radiologists’ opinions) are equal if not better than
some of the diagnostic workstations in use today. Really…really? Yeah, really.
what can a PACS workstation do that an app can’t – turns out not much. Bold
statement, I know, but at least on some PACS apps for iPhones, Androids, and
iPads you can actually download 1,000 slices a second without downsizing
images. One well-regarded radiologist and beta-tester points out in the AR article:
“The images are 512 x 512 with full resolution — which means it is faster than most workstations. Most of the workstations downsize
images, but with the iPad or an iPhone, the application does not comprise resolution.”
Then there's Google’s Android operating system running on a wide range of smart phones and tablets, giving you a lot of screen sizes
to choose from.
So, move over text-aholics, here’s
something faster and even more dangerous on the road – diagnostic-quality PACS apps.
Expect to see new road signs directed at radiologists – “Don’t diagnose and