iPad, secondary-class LCD monitors equal for medical imaging

Apple's iPad is just as accurate as a DICOM calibrated secondary-class monitor for reviewing MRI images, according to research featured in the August edition of the journal Academic Radiology.

For the study, 13 American Board of Radiology board-certified radiologists examined 31 cases on both devices. Thirteen of the cases contained one of four presentations: spinal cord compression, cauda equine syndrome, spinal cord hemorrhage, or spinal cord edema. The remaining 18 cases served as controls.

The researchers found no statistically significant differences between either of the devices, leading them to conclude that the iPad is a good option for aiding initial review of MR spinal emergency cases.

"As evidenced by these findings, the iPad may represent a possible solution to the evaluation of MR images and diagnostic decision-making in spinal emergency cases when reviewed by experienced radiologists without access to secondary-class displays," the study's authors, according to CMIO. "It also reinforces the Food and Drug Administration decision to give clearance for the use of the iPad for diagnostic decision-making while using an appropriate software application."

A study published earlier this year and conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland determined the iPad 2 to be just as reliable as an LCD monitor for diagnosing tuberculosis. For that study, which was a follow-up to a 2010 study, radiologists tested 240 images--200 positive and 40 negative--on iPad 2 tablets and a 27-inch Mac monitor. The researchers found the agreement between the two displays to be statistically equal.

Staten Island University Hospital radiologist David Hirschorn told AuntMinnie.com last fall that the iPad was a bad fit for viewing medical images like x-rays. He added, however, that the device was better suited for high-contrast, low-resolution images produced by CT and PET scans, as well as MRIs.

To learn more:
- here's the study's abstract
- read the CMIO article

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