Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant
Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | Information Technology| September 07, 2016

How Smartphones Can Make Radiologists Even Smarter

How Smartphones Can Make Radiologists Even Smarter

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay

Athletes warm up before a workout or game. But how might intellectuals get ready? There may be a way. And it may involve smartphones.

Research reported in the January 2015 issue of Current Biology suggested that smartphone use might warm up the cortex, reporting evidence that “an episode of intense (smartphone) use is transiently imprinted on the sensory representation. We propose that cortical sensory processing in the contemporary brain is continuously shaped by the use of personal digital technology,” the researchers concluded.

The key to stimulating the cortex — and the beneficial plasticity therein — may be repetitive finger stimulation, which suggests using smartphones may be no better than, say, playing the piano or guitar. It is beyond debate, however, that smartphones can go way beyond tickling ivories or plucking strings, as far as making professionals more effective. And that goes especially for radiologists.

Thousands of smartphone applications provide access to clinical references, medical education and decision-making tools. Many have been created specifically for radiologists. Some extend PACS and teleradiology, allowing radiologists to read images on personal digital devices, such as smartphones. Among them are zero-footprint viewers, such as Carestream’s Vue Motion, which uses a Web browser or information embedded in an electronic medical record portal, and ResolutionMD (Calgary Scientific), an enterprise image viewer that securely displays patient images.

 

Inexpensive Radiology Apps

These tend to be a bit pricey, but not other smartphone apps, which may cost just a few bucks or nothing at all. Many of the best known are available to iPhone users.

Diagnostic Radiology (Version 1.3, iTunes) promises a dynamic approach to abdominal radiology. It is described as fully interactive, offering extensively annotated, real clinical datasets that illustrate key concepts in abdominal anatomy and pathology.

Radiology Assistant (Version 1.4.3, iTunes; Android Version) has been around for a few years, helping radiologists download reference articles, which it categorizes by anatomy. The files download from the Radiology Assistant website hosted by the Radiological Society of the Netherlands and are stored on the smartphone.

Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED (Version 1.0, iTunes) presents teaching files. The cases support the simulated reading of CT scans at a PACS workstation.

Radiopaedia (Version 1.1, iTunes) evolved from a series of Radiopaedia.org teaching files. The app allows users to view hundreds of cases, which they can then attempt to interpret. Each case provides questions, explanatory text, and reference articles.

Radiology Toolbox Pro (Version 2.00.02, iTunes) is a collection of charts, diagrams, and calculators used in radiology reading rooms. Its developer, Eric M. Baumel, a practicing radiologist, says the app is designed for everyday use by practitioners in and outside radiology, as well as students.

Lung Cancer Screening Guide with Lung-RADS (Version 3.0.2, iTunes) is described as being a simple, intuitive and “uncompromising” tool for streamlining lung screening workflow. It is designed to be an interactive adaptation of guidelines, disseminated by the ACR and the Fleischner Society, that address how to assess and manage radiographically detected pulmonary nodules.

 

“Old” School Connectivity

And there are other ways that smartphones help radiologists. They can connect radiologists with referring physicians, for example, through e-mail, instant messaging, texts and, of course, the old standby — voice. Immediate availability and impromptu consultations can help radiologists become valued members of patient management teams. Similarly, the repetitive use of smartphones might, as suggested earlier, improve or enhance cortical function.

To say that smartphones are the end all and be all of increased perceptual performance, however, clearly would be going too far, at least without including pianos and guitar. It might also be too much to say that smartphones can be leveraged to increase radiologists’ participation on patient management teams.

Beyond debate, however, is the widespread use of smartphones in the hands of radiologists and the existence of apps that, at the very least, promise to boost the performance of radiologists. And that’s interesting, in itself.

Editor's note: This is the first blog in a four-part series on Smartphones and Radiology

Related Content

HHS Extends Comment Period for Proposed Electronic Health Information Interoperability Rules
News | Electronic Medical Records (EMR) | April 19, 2019
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is extending the public comment period by 30 days for two...
In a demonstration on the exhibit floor of the SBI symposium, Koios software identified suspicious lesions in ultrasound images

In a demonstration on the exhibit floor of the SBI symposium, Koios software identified suspicious lesions in ultrasound images. Photo by Greg Freiherr

Feature | Artificial Intelligence | April 19, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr
Commercial efforts to develop...
Atrium Health Debuts Amazon Alexa Skill to Help Patients Access Medical Care
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 18, 2019
Atrium Health patients will now be able to use Amazon’s electronic voice system Alexa to not only locate the nearest...
Oxipit Introduces Multilingual Support for ChestEye AI Imaging Suite
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 16, 2019
The CE-certified ChestEye artificial intelligence (AI) imaging suite by Oxipit is now available in seven European...
iCAD Appoints Stacey Stevens as President
News | Radiology Business | April 16, 2019
iCAD Inc. recently announced that Stacey Stevens has been named president. As president, Stevens will have expanded...
Radiology Publishes Roadmap for AI in Medical Imaging
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 16, 2019
In August 2018, a workshop was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., to explore the future...
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Implements Change Healthcare Enterprise Imaging
News | Enterprise Imaging | April 15, 2019
Change Healthcare successfully implemented its Radiology PACS (picture archiving and communication system), Image...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Information Technology | April 15, 2019
Vital Images has developed a strategy that allows its customers to capture revenues that are otherwise missed while b