A new study of from the University of Sydney reveals that tablet computers like the iPad are just as reliable as secondary display devices as are their LCD companions when it comes to medical evaluation and diagnosis. The results come from a sample of eight examining radiologists who compared their ability to recognize nodules in chest x-rays on LCD monitors versus tablet displays. They found no significant difference in detection when comparing the two devices.
Lead researcher on the study at University of Sydney is Dr. Mark McEntee, who comments on the magnitude of the findings:
"This is great news for patients and staff alike. Instead of a patient having images referred to, they can see the images at the same time the doctor is talking to them and this will make the experience for the patient much more open."
"In the past, doctors would do their rounds in the wards, returning to a desktop computer to view images. Now they can do it at the bedside with an iPad or other tablet computer".
One important factor to bear in mind however is that iPads or tablets should only be used when primary diagnostic tools are unavailable. MRI's, CT's, X-rays, and PET's should only be viewed on high-resolution LCD's when undertaking diagnostics. The tablets referenced in this study were used for patient flow-up after diagnosis and during hospital visits to explain findings.
Dr. McEntee clarifies:
"When no primary display device exists, diagnoses can be carried out on a secondary display device, such as an iPad, but this is only in the most urgent of cases, for example to determine whether a patient is suffering from an intra-cranial bleed, "
I would imagine this is just the beginning for iPads and tablets in the workplace. First business, now medical; we should expect to see tablet technology everywhere soon- just like when pc's first became available to consumers.