Teleradiology answers the ring of phone images

July 2, 2008

A unique touchscreen iPhone-teleradiology application that allows physicians to navigate through diagnostic images from home, train, or golf cart was announced in June at the Apple user’s meeting by an Ohio biomedical company.

A unique touchscreen iPhone-teleradiology application that allows physicians to navigate through diagnostic images from home, train, or golf cart was announced in June at the Apple user's meeting by an Ohio biomedical company. The system from MIMvista of Cleveland is called MIM. It lets radiologists and physicians retrieve digital images wirelessly on their iPhone or iPod touch, then manipulate the images with workstation functionality in the palm of the user's hand. MIM provides multiplanar reconstruction of data sets from modalities including CT, PET, MRI, and SPECT, as well as multimodality image fusion.Using the multitouch interface, users can change image sets and planes, adjust zoom and fusion blend, and perform window/leveling. Images can be panned, flipped in any orientation, and presented from any angle in any color contrast by a pinch, double tap, swipe, or one or two finger slide. There's even a measurement tool. The user makes it work by tapping to position the start of a measurement line, dragging the line, then tapping to complete. The line remains on that slide until removed by a small shake of the device. This accelerometer feature is not found on any desktop workstation."We know from talking to radiologists and oncologists, it's easy to be caught without access to a workstation," said Mark Cain, MIMvista CTO. "The iPhone application enables users to access images when they are not near a workstation." Before the iPhone, developing a mobile teleradiology solution like this would have been virtually impossible, Cain said. "We've taken a complex desktop application, removed it from the realm of black art, and placed it in the hands of physicians and patients - and we've only just scratched the surface," he said. Cain said that within a week of conceiving the application, his staff had a prototype and a product definition. In addition to the accelerometer, the MIM application exploits other iPhone technologies, including Core Animation, Foundation/Core Foundation, UIKit, and WebKit.Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act concerns were not overlooked in the rush to production. Patient privacy is assured because all communications are transmitted over a secure connection that uses password locks, tamper prevention, and data encryption, Cain said.The iPhone may one day be responsible for reinvigorating consultation between radiologists and referring physicians. It's easy now to imagine radiologist and clinician sharing images, iPhone to iPhone. "Additionally, the referring physician has the images there when meeting the patient, something which may not have happened otherwise," Cain said.A free nondiagnostic version of MIM will be released soon through the Apple Store, he said. A professional version is to be released at a later time.