Mobile Radiology Computing: How to Get Started

December 4, 2013

CHICAGO - From determining the platform and device to adding apps, there are quite a few considerations when going mobile.

CHICAGO - As desktop computer models are giving way to mobile versions, physicians are searching for the best solutions to increase efficiency and better serve patients at the point of care.

One of the first choices is which platform to use. The three main platforms are Android, iOS and Windows.

"You're not just choosing a phone, you're choosing an ecosystem that you are going to be invested in for a very long time," said Michael D'Alessandro, MD, radiology professor at University of Iowa College of Medicine, speaking this week at RSNA 2013.

In a nutshell, D'Alessandro described the options this way:

• Android: "The Wild West - a wide-open and experimental platform…. If you're going to go • • Android, try to consider Google Nexus phones and Nexus tablets. … They run the purest, latest, greatest versions of Android."

• iOS: Good in-person support, well-managed. "It just works."

• Windows: Multiple versions, including Windows Phone and Windows 8, which can make use confusing.

Here are a few considerations when choosing a system:

• Is the device upgradeable?

• How great is the apps store? What's the diversity among apps?

• Do you want a phone, tablet or phablet (combination of the two)?

D'Alessandro and Jeffrey Galvin, MD, of the University of Maryland and the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology, introduced ways for physicians, and specifically radiologists, to have their research, reference materials and newsfeeds at their fingertips:

D'Alessandro said the browser is the app he uses the most. He recommended these search engines for finding radiology-specific information.

www.goldminer.arrs.org  (provides rapid access to peer-reviewed medical images)

www.searchingradiology.com (for searching peer-reviewed radiology-specific texts)

• myrsna.rsna.org (RSNA members can explore topics and earn CME credit)

Apps for decision support

Here are the apps they recommended for getting free decision support wherever and whenever you need it:

• Medscape (Android, iOS).  Textbooks for all medical basics, including a textbook of radiology. The app is a copy of their website. When you don't have connectivity, you can get an answer to your question or a patient's question on a mobile device.

• IASLC (International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer) Staging Atlas (Android, iOS). Free app walks a doctor through how to stage a patient's lung cancer.

• e-Anatomy (Android, iOS). A compendium of basic anatomy. "Residents love it," D'Alessandro said.

Another tool, an app called Papers that isn't free but is inexpensive at about $35, can help you manage a library of journal articles, Galvin said.

Papers "changed my life in terms of organizing journal articles," he said. Papers runs on PC or Macintosh or tablet. He can access data from any of the 6,000 papers he stores there, quickly pull up the PDFs and use the information himself or share it.