What factors are important to consider when choosing a mobile device for use in radiology departments?
Mobile devices have become integral to everyday life. To operate within a secure and optimal environment within radiology, multiple aspects must be considered. The main factors include:
- • Security: Access to the device, communication with other devices via Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and HIPAA compliance.
- • Bandwidth: Important for data transfer speeds.
- • Screen resolution: Radiographs are usually the largest images in terms of pixel number, with the exception of mammograms, for which a full-resolution image ranges from 4 to 12 megapixels (MPs).
- • Display size: Typical desktop PACS displays are about 21 inches diagonally, tablet displays are about 10 inches, and phone displays are about 3.5 inches. Display size of a phone is currently too small to adequately view a radiographic image. For CT, MR, ultrasonographic, and nuclear medicine images, the smartphone display is likely adequate for an on-call scenario, although daily use is not likely practical at this time.
- • Pixel pitch: Length of one side of a square pixel, which ranges from 270 microns for low-resolution desktop displays to 78 microns for the latest iPhones with “retina display.” Increased pixels lead to increased information in a fixed area, but pixels must at least be at the threshold of human perception.
- • Luminance: Brightness, which affects ability to discriminate contrast in radiologic images. Mobile devices have output luminances currently of 400 to 500 cd/m2, on par with desktop medical displays. Given the automated power management features on many mobile devices to dim the display in certain settings, display dimming must be checked for and prevented on the viewing application.