iPad for radiology reads. WARNING – NO FREE IPAD/VIRUS WITH THIS LINK….!

12 May

[I can imagine hits on this post being higher than usual simply because of use of the word iPad…]

For all I know this may well be something that’s already being done somewhere in the country but it’s a neat idea. There are, apparently, official guidelines on what type of screen radiology reports should be made of – something with a suitable number of pixels.

This little study from the republic of Cork looked at the original iPad loaded with everyone’s faourite DICOM viewer Osirix and compared how radiologists did on a number of dry head CTs versus reads on an official PACS system.

Bottom line: It did pretty well.

More details of the study below:


  • from cork
  • using the original ipad i think (may 2010)
  • loaded with osirix
  • compared dry CT heads with a PACS system
  • did some fancy calibration stuff too to see if the screens were in any way comparable
  • reads were done by different people so we can’t be sure that differences weren’t just differences in subjective findings


  • 100 scans
  • 5 strokes, 5 bleeds
  • no misses on the iPad for these
  • there was disagreement over some other stuff, the only one of concern might be a subtle lentiform stroke


  • i wonder if results would be any different with the newer iPads

NB – Apple’s European HQ is in Cork and the authors didn’t get any sponsorship from them. Either Apple are tight and horrible (probably true) or the authors wanted a nice conflict free study.

NB –  I have a personal bias against the iPad seeing it as the epitome of consumerism (virtually everyone know has an iPad AND a laptop and iPhone, not instead of…) gone mad but the idea of tablet computers for work situations (as opposed to just really pretty ways to play angry birds) is important and likely to become more so in coming years.

Mc Laughlin, Patrick, Siobhan O Neill, Noel Fanning, Anne Marie Mc Garrigle, Owen J O Connor, Gerry Wyse, and Michael M Maher. “Emergency CT Brain: Preliminary Interpretation with a Tablet Device: Image Quality and Diagnostic Performance of the Apple iPad.” Emergency Radiology 19, no. 2 (December 16, 2011): 127–133. PMID 22173819

More piss-taking photos here

UPDATE: another Irish study has just been published showing similar +ve results in MRI too. Link here. And another older one looking at iPods

6 Replies to “iPad for radiology reads. WARNING – NO FREE IPAD/VIRUS WITH THIS LINK….!

  1. Being a lucky owner of an ipad 3 ( and rapidly aging eyes) my lossy jpeg (harvested from the local pacs system and anonomysed) are better quality than what im looking at on most of the monitors in the dept.
    Think its a skill issue as much as hardware around CT interpretation of CVA for lysis treatment. Be more interested in its role in interpreting fractures, esp. unstable spinal injuries and small pneumothoraces.

    In my old place we put in 42 inch plasmas behind a “bullet proof” touch screen ( originally for autistic kids at school) . Argument:
    1 juniors are always touching the screens (damaging expensive rad monitors)
    2 cleaners are not selective in what products they use to clean such screens
    3 LCD is poorer at black than plasma
    4 touchscreen meant we can use whiteboard function as a massive trauma chart that everyone can see from top of trolley
    5 screen can project ECG and treatment protocols as well as all blood results and OLD notes

    £5000 installed and has lasted 4 years without problem: iSCREEN rather than iPad
    Cost probably considerably less by now.

    • what was the resolution on the 42 inch? given that native CT res is 512×512, i imagine a CT head might get pretty pixelated when blown up to 42 inches!

      i didn’t know that LCD was poorer at black than plasma so that’s a pretty compelling argument. Definitely agree on tendency for people to damage the screens (it happened to the screen of an US machine where i used to work)

      i would love to see an electronic whiteboard/tracking system function as I would like it too – i’m still waiting!

      • Put the best videocard I could in at the time. Cant remember but probably less than 720p. (im used to macs with rather better videocards than viglen (amstrad) pcs which is what we endured).
        Cant say the pixelation was a problem because of the clarity of the blacks. Also because of the luminence of the plasma it was readable without having to dim the lights.
        Now of course if i was doing it again (and could afford it) Id opt for OLED with same luminosity but lower operating costs.

        The smartboard overlay was a hack. It shouldnt have worked but it did. More importantly we could plug in dept laptop or mac and overlay still worked.

          • Nah, already had the smartboard software ( most imt or teaching /libraries have it)
            It ran on tiger/ leopard snowleopard and windows xp and vista
            The installers of the board /plasma wouldnt support it but I had no problems running it.
            30 mins of playing ( with IMT’s help)

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