Medical imaging is hot for the tablet. Originally introduced in the spring of 2010, the Apple iPad practically revolutionized computing. By 2012, tablet usage by physicians and medical imaging professionals reached 62 percent, with the iPad being the principal platform, according to healthcare market research firm Manhattan Research.
The global market for tablet PC devices in healthcare is expected to increase to $1.7 billion for 2013, reflecting an increase of nearly 27 percent over the prior year, according to Kalorama Information.
“Tablet PCs are increasingly being used for a variety of tasks in the health field including access to patient records at the point of care, improved viewing capabilities for medical images and easy offsite patient monitoring,” said Melissa Elder, Kalorama analyst and the author of the report.
PACS Vendors Are Involved
PACS vendors have responded. The ability to access medical imaging through a mobile app is a standard feature in the PACS industry, and has made sharing information with referring physicians easier than ever.
Raleigh Radiology in Raleigh, North Carolina has been using tablets for medical imaging for about two years. “It’s been a great tool for our referring physicians because iPhone and iPad penetration in the physician space is very high … so everyone is kind of used to the app ecosystem and the utilization of products through apps,” says Satish Mathan, MD, Raleigh Radiology incoming president.
Tablet Display Clear for Medical Imaging
iPads are just as effective as traditional workstations for radiologists reading MRI and CT scans in emergency situations, according to a report published in the Journal of Digital Imaging. Subsequently, the report found that tablet computers such as the iPad, which have a large format, improved graphic display resolution and a touch screen interface, may have an advantage compared to smartphones and laptops for viewing medical imaging.
Researchers from Changi GeneralHospital in Singapore theorized that tablet computers could hold huge potential in medical imaging, filling the need for a lightweight, portable wireless device that would allow radiologists to review medical imaging remotely.
To conduct the study, researchers compared 264 readings, with three radiologists each performing 88 readings. Results showed 3.4 percent (nine of 264) of the readings exhibited major discrepancies and 5.6 percent (15 of 264) had minor discrepancies.
“Our results suggest that emergency conditions commonly encountered on CT and MRI can be diagnosed using tablet computers with good agreement with dedicated PACS workstations,” the report stated.
Patients Benefit from Tablet Usage
Patients will be the greatest benefactors from medical imaging tablet utilization. With meaningful use measures requiring patients to have easy access to their medical imaging, physicians are gaining an edge by accessing records on their tablets.
Take, for example, Dr. Christopher Tashjian, a specialist in family medicine, practicing in rural Ellsworth, Wisconsin. Last summer, he was in Estonia at a McDonald’s. “I had a patient email me and say, ‘I’m out of my high blood pressure meds.’ Because I now have a mobile app for my EHR, I was able to get into the patient’s medical record through my smart phone and look up the needed prescription. Then, I refilled it in the local pharmacy, over the Web. If I can access the Internet, whether it’s on my iPad, my laptop, or my smart phone, I can access a medical record.”
What’s your experience been with accessing medical imaging on your tablet? Please share your thoughts via the comments below.
See McKesson’s clinical reference viewer at RSNA – Booth #7358 North Hall. for more inforamtion visit www.mckesson.com/medicalimaging