A Computer Tomography Exam over iPhone Anyone?

The latest issue of Telemedicine and e-Health, the official publication of the American Telemedicine Association, reports that “Appendicitis can be diagnosed remotely by cell phone” based on a study that was lead by Asim F Choudhri MD a Physician from the Neuroradiology Division of John Hopkins University. The study looked at the quality of CT examinations that were remotely viewed using the OsiriX Mobile Medical Image Viewing Software installed on a 3G iPhone. Stated benefits included “Transmitting the images over a mobile device allows for instant consultation and diagnosis from a remote location” and avoidance of the delay “if the radiologist needs to consult with a specialist”.

Rather worryingly the paper claims only 15 of the 25 patients were correctly identified as having appendicitis. With CT Scanners retailing at over $3 million I’m not sure this example of mHealth offers more benefit than a remote consulting service: after all wouldn’t it be better to access the advice of a remote specialist using a high end static display screen than to rely on a local Doctor making a diagnosis based on an image on an iPhone screen?

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