Imaging On the Move: FDA Clears Mobile MIM Imaging App

The following article is a guest post by Dr. Tuhin Sinha, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Research and Director – Quantitative Image Processing Center (QUIP-C)

The iOS platform, and specifically the iPad device with its large screen real-estate, has generated a substantial amount of enthusiasm from a variety of users within our Radiology Department. Undeniably the most common question has been, “How can I look at medical images on these devices?” And, to date, there has not been a clear answer.

This month, however, MIM Software Inc. has received FDA 510(k) clearance for their iPhone/iPad app: Mobile MIM. This app is now cleared to be marketed for diagnostic reading applications in CT, MRI and PET studies on iOS devices. The decision by the FDA provides a clear path to image assessment on mobile devices like the iPad.

As it stands, the Mobile MIM will allow radiologists to download, view, and annotate imaging information for diagnostic interpretation under certain lighting conditions.  The FDA’s press release goes on to say that the app “allows the physician to measure distance on the image and image intensity values and display measurement lines, annotations and regions of interest.”

This is the first step in a very important evolution in diagnostic radiology. Some of the advantages of this platform seem self-evident: reading images anywhere with wireless access and touch-based interaction with images. These advances will almost immediately allow us to relate to patients and their images at the bedside. Also, it is conceivable that this technology will make physician consultations by sub-specialized experts in radiology more accessible for rapid and accurate diagnosis, due to the pervasiveness of wireless connectivity. However, there are still a number of logistical questions that remain. For example, an app like this would cater to enterprise-wide deployment, but what are the steps required for that, and are they achievable? Also, will the app increase productivity or the efficacy of diagnostic radiology, and how?

As of this writing, the Mobile MIM app was still unavailable on the US Apple App Store.  We are eager to see this application in use in our environment at UCSF. There is no question the face of diagnostic radiology is changing, and Mobile MIM’s may be the first indicator of where things may go.