Data Drives Adoption
Doctors are data-driven, which is why supporting research and data on the use of new technology is so critical to its adoption. Research is particularly fundamental to using new technologies for patient care. Even when a technology’s benefits make intuitive sense, such as mobile devices’ ability to speed access to care, doctors won’t make a change in their practice without data, says Steven Levine, MD, Professor of Neurology and Emergency Medicine at SUNY Downstate School of Medicine.
Levine is part of a research team that recently studied the accuracy of radiology images viewed on iPads and iPhones as compared to standard PACS radiology images. Specifically, the study focused on interpreting acute stroke head CT scans to identify various stroke diagnoses.
This particular application of mobile tech is one element of telestroke, which allows remotely located neurologists to diagnose stroke patients. Telestroke, which significantly speeds access to the life-saving tPA, a clot-busting drug, has been shown to save lives and money. With the addition of mobile devices, consulting neurologists can be located virtually anywhere shaving even more time from the time to diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients.
“Faster access to care is critical,” says Levine. “Every other time-based piece of data we have about getting answers and treatment to patients for acute stroke have shown that time is king and it rules. The sooner you make a treatment decision and get the patient treated, the better they do.”
Data that substantiates the use of iPads and iPhones for telestroke diagnosis is critical to their adoption. Levine’s research team found that when compared across the three devices of the standard workstation, the iPad and the iPhone, the mobile devices had good to excellent sensitivity for diagnosis.1
Research Studies Drive Practice Improvements
Another small study not only demonstrated comparable diagnostic confidence between mobile and PACS viewers but also showed that mobile image access was actually faster than desktop access. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, found image access was “2 to 10 minutes faster using the mobile image viewer, compared with either of the desktop programs.”2 Study participants reported perceived benefits including “faster communication of imaging findings, more rapid formation of treatment plans, and improved outcomes leading to lower patient care costs.”
“The next step is to go bigger with a multi-center validation study in clinical practice,” says Levine. These studies, while complex and expensive, are critical to supporting adoption of mobile devices and realizing their full benefits in clinical practice.
This blog originally appeared on Calgary Scientific’s website.