The future of teleradiology is both mobile and patient-centered, according to coverage by AuntMinnie.com of the European Society of Radiologists' recent annual expo, ESR 2012, in Vienna.
Tablets are fast reaching a point of heft, and processing power, to become true imaging tools, according to Osman Ratib, chair of the department of medical imaging at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, AuntMinnie.com reports.
"The situation is changing so fast. These tablets now have quite powerful CPUs [central processing units] on board so that you can load both the data and the program," Ratib said. "Memory is growing, and every time you have bigger and bigger amounts of storage space, so they are becoming almost as powerful as a laptop computer."
In the U.S., tablets haven't received quite as resounding a recommendation. Two stories in the past six months have given contradictory findings. One noted U.S. radiologists' criticism that smaller screens and lower resolutions on mobile devices made them "impractical" for image viewing.
Another, however, found that, at least for viewing TB X-rays, iPads in particular were equal to LCD monitors in terms of diagnostic viewing.
Smartphones, are becoming an increasing part of making teleradiology patient-centered, with patients taking control of their own images, and transporting them to their physicians themselves, experts at the conference said.
"Then the patient is in the middle of the whole process because we should also see this type of healthcare provision as a patient-centric model," Erik Ranschaert, staff radiologist at the Jeroen Bosch Ziekenhuis teaching hospital in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, said, according to AuntMinnie.com.
Security and privacy concerns with mobile devices still make them a concern for radiology imaging, experts at the conference noted. However, there may be hope: A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research last spring, showed that a client-server approach did allow for secure, speedy transfers of DICOM images via iPad for stroke diagnosis.