Mobile phones become PACS workstations

September 1, 2004

Lending new meaning to the idea of anytime/anywhere, a Hong Kong hospital is using a mobile phone as a client workstation to access digital images by interfacing with PACS and RIS.Although image detail is limited by the phone's resolution and display

Lending new meaning to the idea of anytime/anywhere, a Hong Kong hospital is using a mobile phone as a client workstation to access digital images by interfacing with PACS and RIS.

Although image detail is limited by the phone's resolution and display intensity, the mobile controller does provide speedy delivery. The system is described in a Journal of Digital Imaging paper published online Aug. 3.

"Radiologists can preview images before they have access to an image workstation, and clinicians can review reported images through a mobile phone display," said Dr. Fuk-hay Tang of the department of optometry and radiography at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon.

Clinicians and other healthcare professionals can use a mobile PACS to remain in touch with medical images, reports, and workflow status both inside and outside the hospital, without the need for designated computer platforms and facilities.

Tang's mobile controller allows PACS image management including display, work listing, query, and retrieval of medical images in DICOM format.

Tang developed a PACS Web server that serves as an interface for client programs in mobile phones and enterprise PACS for image distribution in hospitals. The application processing is performed on the server side to reduce computational loading in the mobile device. No complicated computer hardware or software is necessary.

Mobile capability is particularly important in cases requiring urgent consultation, and it allows healthcare workers better use of the time for patient care, he said.

Tang's mobile PACS idea opens up a new solution for image display and access of patient information, providing an alternative to the personal digital assistant.

"Mobile phones are handier, with better network coverage," Tang said. "Besides, there is no extra cost for computer facilities, other than that of the mobile phone, to access such a system."