iPads show the way forward for medical imaging

February 21, 2012
Medical images such as x-rays and scans could soon be viewed on tablet computers like the iPad in our hospitals

Tablet computers such as the iPad are becoming more and more popular, but new research from the University of Sydney means they could soon be used in hospitals as a tool for doctors to view medical imaging.

Results of the University of Sydney study, presented this month at the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) conference in San Diego, show tablet computers such as the are as good as standard LCD computer screens when used as secondary display devices for viewing medical imaging. Secondary display devices can be used by doctors who move from patient to patient in hospital wards.

The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Mark McEntee from the Discipline of Medical Radiation Sciences at the University of Sydney, says, "In the past, doctors would do their rounds in the wards, returning to a to view . Now they can do it at the bedside with an iPad or other ".

Dr. McEntee assessed the diagnostic efficacy of iPads when compared with LCD secondary display monitors for identifying lung nodules on chest x-rays, intracranial bleeds and fractures.

Eight examining of the American Board of Radiology were involved in the assessment, reading chest images on both the iPad and an off-the-shelf LCD monitor. Thirty chest images were shown to each observer, of which 15 had one or more lung nodules.

The results demonstrate no significant differences in performance between the iPad and the LCD.

The iPad screen - like other desktop screens - has a resolution of 130 dpi (dots per inch).

"This is great news for and staff alike. Instead of a patient having images referred to, they can see the images at the same time the doctor is talking to them and this will make the experience for the patient much more open."

However, Dr. McEntee's study foresees possible complications with widespread use of iPads in hospital wards in the event of theft. Dr. McEntee cites a risk to the security of patient records if they are stored on the tablet computer using applications such as Mobile MIM, the first Food and Drug Administration-approved medical app. In response to this risk, he advises never storing patient data on the tablet, rather, images should be viewed using access codes to browse patient data using web browsers.

There are also guidelines to be followed that ensure best practice when reading x-rays on an iPad or tablet. These include the guarding against poor viewing conditions, viewing images on the move, and dirty, greasy screens.

Dr. McEntee emphasises that while the iPad can be used for secondary diagnosis only, with primary diagnosis of medical images, such X-rays, CT, MRI and PET scans, to be carried out on specifically designed high-quality primary LCDs in accordance with regulations issued by the American College of Radiology and the Australian and New Zealand Royal College of Radiologists. Such primary display devices have a dpi of between 508 and 750dpi and are defined as Class I.

"When no primary display device exists, diagnoses can be carried out on a secondary display device, such as an iPad, but this is only in the most urgent of cases, for example to determine whether a patient is suffering from an intra-cranial bleed, " Dr. McEntee says.

Explore further: iPhone app can diagnose stroke: study

Related Stories

iPhone app can diagnose stroke: study

May 9, 2011
New research from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine shows that doctors can make a stroke diagnosis using an iPhone application with the same accuracy as a diagnosis at a medical computer workstation. This technology ...

Doctors turn to smartphones, tablets to access medical data

July 22, 2011
If a patient of Arlington, Texas, physician Ignacio Nunez shows up at the emergency room when the doctor is not at the hospital, he doesn't have to wait long to start investigating what might be wrong.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.