iPads lack clinical workflow for radiology residents

iPads help radiology residents learn, but are less useful when it comes to impacting clinical workflow, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

According to co-author Justin Kung, M.D., of the radiology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, while some sectors of the medical community consider the iPad to be a "revolutionary tool" in healthcare delivery, he and his fellow researchers were interested in assessing how radiology residents used it an academic center.

For purposes of the study, 38 radiology residents at BIDMC were provided with iPad 2 tablets, as well as subscriptions to e-Anatomy and STATdx for a total of six months. They then were surveyed to determine their opinions regarding the iPad as both an educational and clinical tool.

Of the 36 residents who completed the survey, 86 percent said they used it in daily practice. Radiology-specific applications such as e-Anatomy were used weekly or daily by 88 percent of respondents, and 70 percent said they preferred reading journal articles on the tablet. About half said they preferred the iPad as a way to read textbooks.

The radiology residents were less reliant on the iPad, however, when it came to using it as a clinical tool. For example, most (75 percent) did not use it to view radiologic examinations, and just 12 percent used it to sign dictated reports. These results may not appear too surprising, however, when one considers that unlike a radiologist who may need to have remote access to imaging exams for diagnostic purposes, residents usually are never too far away from a PACS workstation.

"The impact of the iPad on the daily clinical duties of radiology residents in our study was limited, but residents at our institution have adopted the iPad to view electronic journals and use radiology-specific applications," Kung said in an announcement. "The full impact of this device on resident education will depend on the development of applications that harness the unique ability of this medium for training the next generation of radiologists."

Evidence like the 2013 Diagnostic Imaging Watch report--released in May by Novation, an Irving, Tex.-based hospital and healthcare supply chain company--suggests that mobile devices like the iPad are becoming increasingly popular with radiologists.

To learn more:
- read the study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology
- check out the announcement

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