The MGH team sought to evaluate new mobile applications from Merge Healthcare of Hartland, WI, that support workflow in medical imaging for anonymized radiology images, said presenter Supriya Gupta, MD.
"While a radiologist today is not likely to read a chest radiograph on an iPhone, systems that are larger and brighter, such as Apple's iPad and whatever succeeds it -- or even devices that project images onto a flat surface -- could support the diagnostic process," Gupta said. "Concerns for patient privacy are amplified by the introduction of more powerful and sophisticated consumer electronics."
The researchers found that the iPhone yielded overall excellent image quality and highly concordant findings with those produced on a PACS workstation, but it suffered from slower download speed and longer interpretation time.
The study does show, however, that it's possible to have a mobile device that would be adequate for primary interpretation, Gupta said.
"These devices are definitely game changers for healthcare IT, and particularly for imaging informatics in medicine," she said. "Referring physicians could gain the most in the near term. They will be able to use mobile devices to get instant information about their patients. But radiologists will benefit as well, albeit indirectly."