Rads do well using smartphones to read CT, MR images

AuntMinnie.com | Italian radiologists reviewing CT and MR images on smartphones were as accurate as those reading images from PACS workstations, a new study shows. But reading from smartphones produced greater eye strain, indicating that the devices are probably best used for consulting rather than primary interpretation.

The results suggest that smartphones could be useful for teleradiology applications, such as enabling more experienced radiologists who don’t have a PACS workstation at hand to provide second opinions to less experienced colleagues, according to a research team led by Floriana Zennaro, MD, from the Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo” in Trieste. She presented the research during a scientific session at the 2010 RSNA meeting in Chicago.

Over the past three years, the institute has been using a teleradiology system by which 50% of medical images are reported from home by on-call physicians. All radiologists have access to the RIS/PACS at home, with exactly the same interface used at work, according to Zennaro.

Recently, the teleradiology system was expanded to offer second opinions for young pediatric radiologists in training when they have doubts regarding an interpretation, Zennaro said. In addition, e-consultation is now being provided for nonpediatric radiologists in their regional health system when they are having a pediatric imaging interpretation problem. Also, a link has been established with Luanda Children’s Hospital in Angola to provide pediatric radiology telecounseling, Zennaro said.

All of these situations require radiologists to be either at the hospital or at home. But what if cases could be sent to them for review on smartphones? Zennaro and colleagues sought to test this hypothesis by comparing the interpretation accuracy of radiologists reading off smartphones with their performance on a standard PACS workstation.

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