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Smartphones Make Good Stroke Image Viewers

October 3, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency Radiology, Neuroradiology
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For evaluating stroke patients, a smartphone makes a fine teleradiology viewer, according to a new Mayo Clinic study.

Bart Demaerschalk, MD, lead author of the study, said in a Mayo news release:

Essentially, what this means is that telemedicine can fit in our pockets. For patients, this means access to expertise in a timely fashion when they need it most, no matter what emergency room they may find themselves.

Dr Demaerschalk is professor of neurology and medical director of Mayo’s stroke telemedicine, or Telestroke, program at Mayo’s Arizona location. Neurologists, radiologists, and other doctors trained in stroke telemedicine work as a team with emergency medicine doctors and staff at remote, usually rural sites around the state.

Mayo Clinic in Phoenix is now the hub of a network with 12 spoke centers, all but one in Arizona. The new study, published online last month in Stroke, looked at whether smartphones provided sufficient viewing quality to serve as telemedicine monitors. Specifically, the researchers tested phones using ResolutionMD, approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration to be sold as a mobile diagnostic application.

Doctors at the spoke locations send radiological images to a neurologist at the central location. Physicians at the two locations can even talk to each other as they simultaneously view the same images.

The study assessed how well the phones displayed the images sent by emergency physicians and radiologists at Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, Arizona. The brain scans were of 53 stroke patients who came to the medical center.

Each CT scan received three evaluations: by a radiologist at Yuma (using a PACS), by a vascular neurologist at the Mayo hub (using a smartphone and ResolutionMD), and by a separate, blinded panel of stroke neurologists (using a desktop viewer). The interpretations of all three were, according to the study, “in excellent agreement.”

“Smartphones are ubiquitous,” Dr. Demaerschalk said. “They are everywhere. If we can transmit health information securely, and simultaneously use the video-conferencing capabilities for clinical assessments, we can have telemedicine anywhere, which is essential in a state like Arizona, where more than 40 percent of the population doesn’t have access to immediate neurologic care.”

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A Florida mammography clinic by any other name would apparently still face trouble from FDA investigators. See our Facebook page for details of the clinic’s latest FDA warning.

Related seminar: UCSF Neuro and Musculoskeletal Imaging

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