A study published recently online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (Berekowitz et al. JACR 2013; Jun 25) from a group of workers from Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Boston MA, USA has showed that although the iPad is being used for intraoperative procedure guidance, percutaneous procedure planning, and mobile interpretation of some imaging examinations the majority of radiology residents are using it primarily as an educational tool.
“Some sectors of the medical community consider the iPad to be a revolutionary tool in health care delivery, with many uses focused on medical imaging. The purpose of our study 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,” said Justin W. Kung, M.D., co-author of the study. A total of 38 radiology residents in the radiology program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston were provided with iPad 2 tablets and subscriptions to e-Anatomy and STATdx. After six months of device use, residents were surveyed to assess their opinions regarding the technology as a tool for education and clinical practice. Eightysix percent of respondees reported daily iPad use. Radiology-specific applications, particularly e-Anatomy, were used weekly or daily by 88 percent of respondents. Most preferred to read journal articles on the iPad, but the number of respondents preferring to read textbooks on the iPad compared with the traditional bound form was evenly divided. Residents were also divided on the clinical utility of the iPad. Most had not used the iPad to view radiologic examinations. Fewer than half used their iPads during readout. Finally, only 12 percent had 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,” said Kung.