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Study: Radiologists Use iPad for Educational, Not Clinical Use

June 26, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a study from researchers at the Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), radiology residents are using iPads primarily as an educational tool. While some use the device for intraoperative procedure guidance, percutaneous procedure planning, and mobile interpretation of some imaging examinations, more radiologists are drawing on it to read radiology-specific applications and journal articles.

The purpose of the study, led by Justin W. Kung, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist at BIDMC, was to assess residents' use patterns and opinions of the iPad as a tool for radiology education and clinical practice at an academic medical center. They studied 38 radiology residents in the radiology program at BIDMC, providing them with iPad 2 tablets and subscriptions to e-Anatomy and STATdx. After six months of use, they surveyed radiologists to get opinions on the technology as a tool for education and clinical use.

What they found was education outweighed clinical use. Of the 86 percent who worked on the iPad daily, 88 percent used it for radiology-specific applications, such as e-Anatomy, which is an radiologic anatomy atlas. Also, the researchers found that more preferred to read journal articles on the iPad, compared to a text version.

In terms of clinical practice on the iPad, radiologists were divided with the majority opting against use. Most didn’t use the iPad to view radiologic examinations and fewer than half used it during readout. Only 12 percent used the iPad to sign dictated reports.

"The impact of the iPad on the daily clinical duties of radiology residents in our study was limited, but residents at our institution have adopted the iPad to view electronic journals and use radiology-specific applications. The full impact of this device on resident education will depend on the development of applications that harness the unique ability of this medium for training the next generation of radiologists," Kung said in a statement.

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