AT&T, Calgary Scientific to Deliver Mobile Medical Imaging

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DALLAS—Physicians will soon have the ability to access medical images stored remotely—from a CT to an MRI—and diagnose patients in near real-time from virtually anywhere via their mobile device.

This is the claim made by AT&T and Calgary Scientific, based on a new partnership announced Nov. 22. The communications giant and mobile applications developer have teamed up to offer Calgary Scientific’s ResolutionMD as an addition to AT&T’s Medical Imaging and Information Management offering. When the option is made available in the first half of 2012, physicians will have the ability to access, view and interact with patient images and reports—stored in any healthcare facility.

The cloud-based ResolutionMD application has recently been cleared as a U.S. Food and Drug Administration mobile diagnostic viewer. AT&T plans to make ResolutionMD available as an option to AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management — a vendor-neutral, cloud-based service that provides access, viewing, storage and sharing of medical images from disparate picture archive communications systems (PACS) on an as needed, pay-as-you-go model for image storage.

The AT&T deal widens the net for Calgary Scientific. The company last year announced a similar deal with Sprint, whereby Sprint supports ResolutionMD on its HTC EVO 4G devices. Calgary Scientific has also partnered with Siemens, Viatronix and Sentinelle Medical to distribute Resolution MD.

“Demand for access to current and prior patient images along with radiology reports is growing at a very high rate,” says Randy Rountree, executive vice president of Global Sales & Marketing for Calgary Scientific, Inc, in a press release. “This requirement for image information is seen across the healthcare enterprise, in remote locations and must be available to clinicians 24 hours a day. Our work with AT&T ensures that this vital information is always accessible in a highly-secure manner and includes many of the diagnostic analysis tools needed by physicians to assess and rapidly diagnose a patient’s condition.”

A Matter of Carriers

For healthcare CIOs—and physicians —weighing their carrier options, particularly given the bandwidth required to support medical image download, a new report by Metrico Wireless may help.

For its latest report, “iPhone 4S: The Ultimate Performance Report,” the mobile device performance research firm tested the iPhone 4S performance on three separate networks: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. As soon as the iPhone 4S launched in October, Metrico began testing the device on each of the carriers. Researchers considered a number of different criteria, including: Call performance (making and holding calls); voice quality (handset, speaker, Bluetooth, in noise); data performance (HTTP download, HTTP upload); web browsing (page load time, page load reliability); and video performance (frame delivery rate, freeze, impairment, audio).

Metrico found that each of the carriers led in different performance categories. Of the three carriers, however, AT&T led in data download and upload speeds, by a considerable margin—an important consideration in the transmission of critical medical images. In perhaps an equally important measure, call performance—the ability to make and hold calls successfully—Verizon came out ahead of AT&T and Sprint.

Additional findings include:

  • Sprint’s iPhone 4S performs better than the other carriers in live network voice quality on the uplink, while AT&T’s iPhone 4S takes the lead in live network voice quality on the downlink. However, the two carriers’ results are comparable. Across the three carriers, when compared to 3G smartphones measured in each carrier’s portfolio, the iPhone 4S is: among the top performers for speech quality in noise; average in speech quality over Bluetooth; and a below average performer in speakerphone speech quality.
  • Web browsing is faster on the AT&T iPhone 4S than on the Verizon and Sprint versions. The iPhone 4S outperforms more than 70 percent of competing 3G Smartphone models tested on the three networks.
  • The iPhone 4S shows excellent data task reliability — or the success rate of completing tasks — on all three carrier’s networks, with 100 percent or near-100 percent success rates in stationary downloads, stationary uploads and web page loads. The improvement gains in stationary download reliability over the iPhone 4 are dramatic for AT&T and Verizon.

According to Metrico, when on the live network and playing a video clip through the web browser, the iPhone 4S showed comparable, high rates of video frame delivery across all three carriers. However, when playing a video clip through YouTube, video frame delivery rate dropped, although the subscriber is still likely to perceive good quality. In general, the iPhone 4S shows a very low rate of video freezes and impairments, and a very high rate of audio delivery, across the three carriers’ networks

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