Mobile Devices

PACS Training - IT Basics 101

With the digitalization of the world, new computing devices have emerged. One such computing device is the “mobile device”.   This handheld device is in almost everyone’s pocket today.  So, what exactly are mobile devices?  Their features and similar other elements are the discussion points of this module.

Mobile Devices – Brief Overview

A mobile device is a lightweight handheld computer that is small enough to fit in the palms of the user.  Such devices come with an LCD or OLED flat screen, touchscreen interface with physical/digital buttons, and can connect with the internet and other devices using built-in capabilities, such as Wi-Fi, cellular networks, Bluetooth, etc. With mobile devices, you can watch videos, capture pictures, write emails, access social media, and do almost all other activities that you can do with PCs and laptops.  Examples of mobile devices are smartphones and tablets.

Operating System (OS) – The Key Component of Mobile Devices

The key component of mobile devices is the operating system (OS). A mobile device is nothing without an OS. There are two most common OS for mobile devices, i.e., iOS and Android. The iOS operating system is dedicated to Apple mobile devices, while the Android OS is used by the majority of other mobile device makers, such as Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, Motorola, etc. 

Other than the OS, the additional value of mobile devices come from 3rd party apps.  For example, users can install WhatsApp to communicate with others, MS Office app to create and edit documents, install YouTube app to watch videos, etc. Android-based mobile devices can access the ocean of third-party apps from Google Play Store, while iOS-based mobile devices can access apps from Apple Store

Mobile devices in Medicine

Mobile devices are more and more commonly used in the patient care setting.  For medical imaging, mobile devices can be used to capture point of care images.  For example, dermatologists can use dedicated smartphones to capture photographic images of a patient’s skin.  The 3rd party application used to assist in the capture of this photograph must perform a few steps:  The app must be secure and require login credentials.  The application should ideally have a worklist – so the physician can select the right patient for the right visit order.  The patient metadata must be tied to the photograph (using DICOM or XDS).  The photographs must be sent to an archive (PACS, VNA or EMR) through a secure connection.  The 3rd party application must have additional security controls that adhere to the institution policies and procedures as well as HIPAA guidelines. 

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