New apps expand iPhone’s value for medical professionals

October 29, 2009

The number of applications for the iPhone has skyrocketed and medicine-related applications are coming online at a rapid pace. Four new applications have been developed specifically for medical professionals, some of which will aid radiologists as well as referring physicians.

The number of applications for the iPhone has skyrocketed and medicine-related applications are coming online at a rapid pace. Four new applications have been developed specifically for medical professionals, some of which will aid radiologists as well as referring physicians.

iMobileHealthCare has developed iAorticValve, a reference guide to all heart valve products. The information is organized in a searchable database. The application also provides access to PubMeb, the National Library of Medicine’s online journal database.

The University of Utah has created three applications specifically for the medical field:

  • ImageVis3D Mobile allows users to display, rotate, and manipulate 3D images of medical CT and MRI scans

  • AnatomyLab lets students to conduct a “virtual dissection” by providing real human cadaver images during 40 separate stages of dissection

  • My Body, a scaled-down version of AnatomyLab provides less detailed anatomy images for the general public.

iAorticValve will help radiologists by saving time, according to Pat Kullmann, CEO of iMobileHealthCare. A patient who needs an MRI or CT scan, for example, may have a mechanical prosthesis specified in his or her chart. The technician or radiologist can use the iAorticValve app to explore the prosthesis the patient has and identify any imaging concerns that may be associated with it, he said.

“They can look up the different brands of valves, and, in some cases, it may preclude the technician or radiologist from needing to call a cardiologist, or hunt down the information on multiple websites from multiple sources,” Kullmann said.

The three University of Utah applications will probably help referring physicians more than radiologists, according to Dr. James Chen, an assistant clinical professor of radiology at the University California, San Diego.

“Referrers using ImageVis3D could potentially show their patients the images, manipulated in various ways for surgical planning,” he said. “For actual preoperative or intraoperative image review, most referrers prefer an actual computer due to screen limitations.”

Since the application is accessible on both a computer and the iPhone, there is potential for creating useful diagnostic images on a workstation and then using the iPhone to view or reference it, Chen said.

The other two applications are more useful for trainees or someone who wants to review educational anatomic information, he said. The iPhone is more portable than an anatomic reference and provides greater interactivity than books and journals, so it’s useful in that way.

“The applications also have the potential to improve the efficiency of study, as any available time you have while waiting can be used to review [rather than] dragging out reference materials, opening them to the proper page, saving your page, and then reorganizing them to put away when your next event starts,” Chen said.

The iPhone, already a popular item with working radiologists, is finding support in educational quarters as well. The University of Medicine and Dentistry–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey is so confident the iPhone will aid medical practice it is requiring all entering medical students to have an iPod Touch or an iPhone.

“Educating the next generation of physicians requires providing them with tools to excel in their quest to become top-tier physicians and provide the highest quality care to their patients,” said Dr. Peter S. Amenta, dean of the school.