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PDAs, iPods Show Potential in Emergency Radiology

January 26, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Emergency Radiology
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Personal digital assistants (PDAs), iPods, and other common handheld devices may help emergency radiologists detect orthopedic injuries and brain hemorrhages, according to a study published in the February issue of The American Journal of Roentgenology. The finding suggest radiologists may soon use handheld devices for teleconsultations and emergency procedures.

“Although the benefits of handheld devices in the daily routine of clinicians is not under debate, the accurate display of medical images is disputed and has not been extensively researched,” said Rachel J. Toomey, lead study author and researcher at the University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Science in Dublin, Ireland.

Researchers compared the diagnostic accuracy of a PDA and an iPod Touch with that of secondary-class monitors for two types of images—wrist radiographs and CT brain scans. A total 168 readings were examined by members of the American Board of Radiology.

Results showed PDA readings of CT brain images were “significantly higher than those of monitor readings when all observers’ readings are taken into account,” the team reported. Although some slight differences were found between handheld devices and monitor readings for the PDA wrist injuries and the iPod Touch studies, the comparisons were not statistically significant.

More research is needed, but the findings show promise, the team said. “This study showed that important clinical information about a patient’s condition can be made available to clinicians through display of radiologic images on handheld devices. This finding extends the potential of the devices beyond current applications such as teaching residents and organizing clinical commitments,” Toomey said.

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Related seminar: Emergency Radiology

Would you use handheld devices for telecommunications and emergency procedures? Tell us what you think.

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