PDAs for primary reads hold their own

March 4, 2005

Radiologists are increasingly turning to personal digital assistants, but mostly for data handling. That may change as research confirms the possibility of interpreting scans from the wireless devices.

Radiologists are increasingly turning to personal digital assistants, but mostly for data handling. That may change as research confirms the possibility of interpreting scans from the wireless devices.Dr. Henrik E. Gregersen of Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark conducted a study to determine if radiologists can make primary diagnoses from their PDAs. He chose 40 orthopedic studies, which included CT, MR, computed radiography, and digital radiography. Gregersen interpreted the images from both a wireless PDA and a workstation. A span of one to two weeks separated each reading. Agreement occurred in 90% of the cases. Using the PDA, he missed a small cyst and a rib fracture in a trauma patient. Interestingly, he saw two instances of soft-tissue calcification on the PDA but not on the workstation. The reason he caught the calcifications on the PDA was because of the need to zoom and scroll on the wireless device as opposed to the workstation, he said."As an old radiologist, I am used to seeing the x-ray in one image. So I overlooked those calcifications," Gregersen said. At Aalborg University Hospital, an image and data management system (IDM) allows clinicians and radiologists to gain full access to radiology data on a central server from their wireless PDAs. This access includes all of the analysis tools available on standard workstations. Many types of studies do not work well on PDAs because of the necessity to scroll and pan with the small devices. But these analytic tools do not work against interpreting orthopedic studies, according to Gregersen. "We have proved that wireless PDAs can be used for primary diagnosis of most radiology data involving orthopedic examinations," he said.

Video of PDA

At a study presented at the European Congress of Radiology, Dr. Henrik E. Gregersen determined it was feasible to use a wireless, hand-held PDA for primary reading of radiology data involving orthopedic cases. (Provided by Medical Insight, Denmark)

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