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Image-based teleconsultation using smartphones or tablets: qualitative assessment of medical experts

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Mobile health has promising potential in improving healthcare delivery by facilitating access to expert advice. Enabling experts to review images on their smartphone or tablet may save valuable time. This study aims at assessing whether images viewed by medical specialists on handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets are perceived to be of comparable quality as when viewed on a computer screen.

Methods: This was a prospective study comparing the perceived quality of 18 images on three different display devices (smartphone, tablet and computer) by 27 participants (4 burn surgeons and 23 emergency medicine specialists). The images, presented in random order, covered clinical (dermatological conditions, burns, ECGs and X-rays) and non-clinical subjects and their perceived quality was assessed using a 7-point Likert scale. Differences in devices' quality ratings were analysed using linear regression models for clustered data adjusting for image type and participants’ characteristics (age, gender and medical specialty).

Results: Overall, the images were rated good or very good in most instances and more so for the smartphone (83.1%, mean score 5.7) and tablet (78.2%, mean 5.5) than for a standard computer (70.6%, mean 5.2). Both handheld devices had significantly higher ratings than the computer screen, even after controlling for image type and participants' characteristics. Nearly all experts expressed that they would be comfortable using smartphones (n=25) or tablets (n=26) for image-based teleconsultation.

Conclusion: This study suggests that handheld devices could be a substitute for computer screens for teleconsultation by physicians working in emergency settings.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Representation showing the percentage of times image quality features (resolution, focus, colour, contrast and composition) ranked from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) for all participants and all devices aggregated.
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EMERMED2015205258F3: Representation showing the percentage of times image quality features (resolution, focus, colour, contrast and composition) ranked from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) for all participants and all devices aggregated.

Mentions: It is of note that participants used the zoom function more often with the smartphone (n=22) than with the tablet (n=10) and the computer (n=8). In addition, among the features suggested as determinant of their judgement on image quality, resolution and focus were ranked as either most or second most important by 67.1% and 55.7% of the participants respectively, which contrasts with 67.5% ranking composition as least important (figure 3). Also, when asked to define the quality of a picture, one in four participants (n=7) answered that quality was when a picture allowed them to make a clear diagnosis; this is in spite of having viewed images that were not clinical at all. Furthermore, in their definitions, most did not specify any technical features but others (n=8) underlined resolution or clarity. Almost all participants answered that they would be comfortable or very comfortable giving image-based clinical advice using the smartphone, tablet and computer (25, 26 and 22 respectively).


Image-based teleconsultation using smartphones or tablets: qualitative assessment of medical experts
Representation showing the percentage of times image quality features (resolution, focus, colour, contrast and composition) ranked from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) for all participants and all devices aggregated.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384429&req=5

EMERMED2015205258F3: Representation showing the percentage of times image quality features (resolution, focus, colour, contrast and composition) ranked from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) for all participants and all devices aggregated.
Mentions: It is of note that participants used the zoom function more often with the smartphone (n=22) than with the tablet (n=10) and the computer (n=8). In addition, among the features suggested as determinant of their judgement on image quality, resolution and focus were ranked as either most or second most important by 67.1% and 55.7% of the participants respectively, which contrasts with 67.5% ranking composition as least important (figure 3). Also, when asked to define the quality of a picture, one in four participants (n=7) answered that quality was when a picture allowed them to make a clear diagnosis; this is in spite of having viewed images that were not clinical at all. Furthermore, in their definitions, most did not specify any technical features but others (n=8) underlined resolution or clarity. Almost all participants answered that they would be comfortable or very comfortable giving image-based clinical advice using the smartphone, tablet and computer (25, 26 and 22 respectively).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Mobile health has promising potential in improving healthcare delivery by facilitating access to expert advice. Enabling experts to review images on their smartphone or tablet may save valuable time. This study aims at assessing whether images viewed by medical specialists on handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets are perceived to be of comparable quality as when viewed on a computer screen.

Methods: This was a prospective study comparing the perceived quality of 18 images on three different display devices (smartphone, tablet and computer) by 27 participants (4 burn surgeons and 23 emergency medicine specialists). The images, presented in random order, covered clinical (dermatological conditions, burns, ECGs and X-rays) and non-clinical subjects and their perceived quality was assessed using a 7-point Likert scale. Differences in devices' quality ratings were analysed using linear regression models for clustered data adjusting for image type and participants’ characteristics (age, gender and medical specialty).

Results: Overall, the images were rated good or very good in most instances and more so for the smartphone (83.1%, mean score 5.7) and tablet (78.2%, mean 5.5) than for a standard computer (70.6%, mean 5.2). Both handheld devices had significantly higher ratings than the computer screen, even after controlling for image type and participants' characteristics. Nearly all experts expressed that they would be comfortable using smartphones (n=25) or tablets (n=26) for image-based teleconsultation.

Conclusion: This study suggests that handheld devices could be a substitute for computer screens for teleconsultation by physicians working in emergency settings.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus