Portable tablets and mobile apps are a growing trend in radiology, according to the 2013 Diagnostic Imaging Watch report released by Novation, an Irving, Tex.-based hospital and healthcare supply chain company. The report, peer-reviewed by the medical doctors, clinicians and engineers who are members of Novation's Diagnostic Imaging Council, highlights "hot topics" and technologies in diagnostic imaging.
"Though there has been debate about investing in tablets because of the risk of them being dropped, lost or taken, tablets could increase efficiency by reducing consultation wait time. They could also enhance consultations with patients and other clinicians," states an announcement accompanying the report.
"In order for tablets to be used to their best advantage, they need the right apps," argues the report. "The market for mobile health applications was expected to grow by nearly $600 million in 2012, which will include apps allowing radiologists to review images on their tablets and other mobile devices. While many still use their workstations, more and more are relying on mobile apps for their job."
As the report points out, the introduction of the Apple iPad 3 in the spring of 2012 made it easier for radiologists to review images, potentially moving medical imaging closer to using mobile devices for diagnostic purposes. Moreover, the report asserts that multi-modality imaging software was one of the first apps for diagnostic radiology approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, opening the way for other companies.
"Challenges remain in the mobile app world and radiologists aren't likely to abandon traditional workstations overnight, but experts say the industry is definitely moving in that direction," states the report.
Among the limitations, according to the report, are that iPad and iPhone screens are smaller than workstation monitors, and currently users can neither dictate reports nor look at comparison films side by side. In addition, the report finds, healthcare mobile apps are needed for portable tablets and smartphones.
In September 2012, Rochester, N.Y.-based medical imaging solutions provider aycan Medical Systems received FDA 510(k) clearance for its teleradiology iPad app, aycan mobile. The app enables radiologists to transfer DICOM images from hospitals and imaging centers to on-call and other radiologists. It also allows for remote review and diagnosis of radiological images and teleconsulting with colleagues.
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