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Coming Soon: An iPhone/iPad Radiology App for Mobile Diagnoses

Coming Soon: An iPhone/iPad Radiology App for Mobile Diagnoses

Many of us think of the App Store as a place to look for software for learning, entertainment, music, writing, productivity. Coming to the App Store next week is a new app that allows physicians to use an iPhone and iPhone to view images and make medical diagnoses based on ‘computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine technology, such as positron emission tomography (PET).


On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Mobile MIM, a new mobile radiology application that produces images clear enough for making medical diagnoses. (The app is not approved for reading x-rays and mammograms, though.) According to a press release:


“This important mobile technology provides physicians with the ability to immediately view images and make diagnoses without having to be back at the workstation or wait for film,” said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., chief scientist and deputy director for science in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Radiology images taken in the hospital or physician’s office are compressed for secure network transfer then sent to the appropriate portable wireless device via software called Mobile MIM. Mobile MIM, manufactured by Cleveland-based MIM Software Inc., allows the physician to measure distance on the image and image intensity values and display measurement lines, annotations and regions of interest.

In its evaluation, the FDA reviewed performance test results on various portable devices. These tests measured luminance, image quality (resolution), and noise in accordance with international standards and guidelines. The FDA also reviewed results from demonstration studies with qualified radiologists under different lighting conditions. All participants agreed that the device was sufficient for diagnostic image interpretation under the recommended lighting conditions.

Maisel emphasized that Mobile MIM ‘”is not intended to replace full workstations and is indicated for use only when there is no access to a workstation,”‘ according to  Apple Insider. The new app gives physicians the ability to view images, and to make diagnoses, quickly, and when it’s not possible to have ready access to other equipment. In the February 4 LA Times, MIM Software chief technology officer Mark Cain described the software as useful ‘if a radiologist wanted a second opinion about a PET scan from a specialist in such scans who was at a conference, on vacation or otherwise removed from a workstation.’

There are some caveats to the new Mobile MIM app, the LA Times notes. FDA spokesperson Erica Jefferson acknowledged that ‘the agency has no way of knowing if doctors are using mobile devices all of the time simply for the sake of convenience or saving time.’  Khan Siddiqui, chairman of the American College of Radiology’s IT and Informatics Committee, acknowledged a ‘potential of abuse’; doctors might prefer to use the app for convenience or to save time. But Siddiqui predicts that the app will be used ‘mainly by non-radiologists such as surgeons or cardiologists to confirm courses of treatment and explain them to patients,’ and that  the benefits of the new app outweigh any doubts.

Mobile MIM will be available next week in the App Store and is available in 14 languages and in 34 countries in addition to the US. It was created by Cleveland-based MIM Software.


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Photo by Cristiano Betta.

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9:50PM PST on Feb 17, 2011


10:12PM PST on Feb 13, 2011


7:43PM PST on Feb 8, 2011


7:04AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

Actually, a neurosurgeon at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa, AZ has already used this to view my daughter's MRI to determine that she did, indeed, have another brain tumor, and that it would be "easy" to remove (after he returns from his 2-wk. vacation, of course). The problem, as I see it, is that he seemed ONLY to rely on this cursory review and impression of her situation, and he did not seem to bother to view the MRI again before calling us in to talk, and making us wait 1 hr. past the appt. time, only to finally show up and go through the whole history of MRIs while we sat, and watched, and waited some more. Some savings. It all seemed so sloppy, and convinced my daughter and I that we would NOT allow this man to perform the surgery. We need a doctor who will actually take the TIME to understand the history of her two previous surgeries and chemo, if only to reassure us that her future surgery will be performed for HER benefit--not for HIS "convenience".

5:46PM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Well, how wonderful. We can now expect patients to request their MRI and CT scans and voilà, a new posting on Facebook.

11:30AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

WOW thanks for sharing!

10:07PM PST on Feb 6, 2011

I like to be the first to sue a Doc for malpractice, what is next a Lawyer ambulance chaser in my speed dialer?

6:49PM PST on Feb 6, 2011

And some of us still just use phones for talking....

5:34PM PST on Feb 6, 2011

So the next will be.Oh Dr.Apple,can you mend a broken heart?? Without even leaning home!! How about them apple,ha?

3:58PM PST on Feb 6, 2011

I can't see this being a good thing.. to small

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