Study: Smartphones, PDAs just as good as 'secondary' monitors for reading images

It's not a pipe dream to say smartphones, PDAs and other handheld devices like iPod Touch could soon become indispensable tools for emergency radiology teleconsultation. In fact, now there is some scientific evidence to support the belief that screen resolution on handhelds is as good as, or better than, that of standard computer monitors for the purpose of reading medical images.

Researchers at University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Science in Ireland had board-certified radiologists read a total of 168 wrist radiographs and CT brain scans on both handhelds and on "secondary-class" monitors. "In the PDA brain CT study, the scores of PDA readings were significantly higher than those of monitor readings when all observers' readings are taken into account," they write in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. There were no statistically significant differences in readings of wrist scans or for CT readings on the iPod Touch.

"The results suggest that the handheld devices investigated in this study may be comparable with secondary monitors for reporting findings on intracranial bleeds on CT images and fractured wrists on radiographs and may be of value in radiology, particularly for teleconsultation and emergency procedures," lead researcher Rachel J. Toomey said, according to Imaging Economics.

To learn more:
- check out this CMIO story
- read this report from Imaging Economics
- have a look at the study abstract in the American Journal of Roentgenology