In world first research, an Australian hospital has found that doctors are able to accurately diagnose a common condition in babies using x-ray images on their smartphones.
It means families in remote parts of the nation can get quick access to a diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosis Via Smartphone
Researchers at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne are the first to test the accuracy of x-ray photos sent via smartphone MMS.
“This research can give doctors confidence to quickly send x-rays images to specialists based in another location, and receive a quick diagnosis, advice on treatment and recommendations to transfer babies to specialist care if need be,” lead researcher Dr Jennifer Dawson said.
“With the improvement in the number of megapixels of smartphone cameras, it means we can now add the phone to our diagnostic tool kit.”
Quicker Treatment For Remote Babies
The researchers used a common condition in babies to test the accuracy of x-rays on smartphones: pneumothorax. It’s a respiratory problem which can be mistaken for other conditions in babies.
To make a diagnosis, clinicians looked at images of x-rays they’d received via MMS on the 3G smartphones. They then compared their diagnosis by looking at those same x-rays on their computer.
What they found was that the accuracy was almost identical.
“Pneumothorax occurs when a baby’s lung collapses as air goes into the space around the lung,” explained Consultant Neonatologist and newborn researcher Dr Marta Thio. “Without an X-ray, it can be mistaken for other respiratory diseases, leading to incorrect treatment which could make the condition worse.”
“This research shows we can make a diagnosis far more quickly while maintaining accuracy, simply by using smartphone images in conjunction with speaking to the doctor. We do not have to wait for both clinicians to be in front of a computer to view images sent by email, which could potentially delay diagnosis.”
New research guidelines on viewing images on a smartphone may now be reviewed for this condition.
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