SIIM 2015: Hospital’s custom mobile PACS viewer gets positive reception from users

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 - Doctor & iPad

National Harbor, Md.—When Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center needed to find a better way of viewing medical images on mobile devices, they went the do-it-yourself route, and have gotten good results, according to a presentation at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) annual meeting.

Seth J. Berkowitz, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, showcased a custom built native iOS app that addressed a number of problems with his organization’s previous mobile reference viewing solution. With a robust vendor-developed solution not in the budget, Berkowitz said his facility used a thin client PACS viewer accessible on tablet via desktop virtualization software. However, in an era of “mobile first” software development, this tool was decidedly behind the times, cumbersome to use, and little utilized by residents.

As bedside image display is a useful tool for radiologists, particularly interventional radiologists, who are increasingly communicating directly with patients, staff wanted a mobile reference viewer with intuitive, gesture-based user controls to show images to patients.

The fix cam in the form of eyeRad, an iPad and iPhone app built at the medical center. PACS connectivity is mediated via the DCMTK DICOM toolkit and an intermediary server renders the images.

“The benefit of doing this ourselves is we had the ability to integrate this with other clinical systems,” said Berkowitz.

The medical center added a drawing tool to help explain images to patients, and an integrated barcode reader lets users scan a patient’s chart to call up images.

Users have reported improved communication with patients and boosts to patient satisfaction and resident education. “This is certainly not replacing our PACS, certainly not replacing our web viewer, but for a limited number of clinicians, they are very very happy with it,” said Berkowitz.