Background: Telemedicine is used with increasing frequency to improve patient care in remote areas. The interpretation of medical imaging on iPad® (Apple, Cupertino, CA) tablets has been reported to be accurate. There are no studies on the use of iPads for interpretation of pediatric echocardiograms. We compared the quality of echo images, diagnostic accuracy, and review time using three different modalities: remote access on an iPad Air (iPad), remote access via a computer (Remote), and direct access on a computer linked through Ethernet to the server, the "gold standard" (Direct). Materials and Methods: Fifty consecutive archived pediatric echocardiograms were interpreted using the three modalities. Studies were analyzed blindly by three pediatric cardiologists; review time, diagnostic accuracy, and image quality were documented. Diagnostic accuracy was assessed by comparing the study diagnoses with the official diagnosis in the patient's chart. Discrepancies between diagnoses were graded as major (more than one grade difference) or minor (one grade difference in severity of lesion). Results: There were no significant differences in accuracy among the three modalities. There was one major discrepancy (size of patent ductus arteriosus); all others were minor, hemodynamically insignificant. Image quality ratings were better for iPad than Remote; Direct had the highest ratings. Review times (mean [standard deviation] minutes) were longest for iPad (5.89 [3.87]) and then Remote (4.72 [2.69]), with Direct having the shortest times (3.52 [1.42]) (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Pediatric echocardiograms can be interpreted using convenient, portable devices while preserving accuracy and quality with slightly longer review times (1-2 min). These findings are important in the current era of increasing need for mobile health.
- cardiology/cardiovascular disease