I came across an interesting article recently about the use of an iPad for pre-operative orthopedic surgical planning (see: FDA clears iPad app for pre-operative surgical planning). Below is an excerpt from it:
Israel-based Voyant Health, a subsidiary of Germany-based medical technology company Brainlab, received FDA clearance for its iPad app, called TraumaCad Mobile, which helps orthopedic surgeons with their pre-operative surgical planning....With the mobile version of TraumaCad, digital templating can now be accessed from any web browser or iPad, enabling surgeons to be more productive while also providing access to data for better inventory management. TraumaCad Mobile imports medical images from hospital imaging systems or secured cloud storage via Brainlab’s Quentry image sharing service. It also calibrates the images, enables users to measure lengths and angles of the images, visualize the results of the operation, and save the plans in the cloud. The app also offers a library of templates that surgeons can use to plan surgery. Surgeons can also share their plans with each other using Quentry. The device allows for overlaying of prosthesis templates on radiological images, and includes tools for performing measurements on the image and for positioning the template.
Orthopedic surgery is an obvious choice for iPad support given that such surgery always involves radiology images and often also the insertion of prosthetic devices. Hence, as noted above, the need for a visual overlay of prosthetic templates on radiology images and measurements to ensure a good fit of the device. An iPad is ideally suited for such tasks. One of its advantages is its portability so that the surgeons can plan surgical procedures when on rounds without the need for desktop computers.
It's also very interesting that Volant/Brainlab has combined its iPad app with secure cloud storage where a library of the necessary prosthetic templates is available. Case files and surgery planning documents in the cloud can also be shared with colleagues. I have been emphasizing the criticality of cloud storage in healthcare for more than six years (see: Finally, A Clear Definition for Cloud Computing). Unfortunately, hospitals and EHR vendors have not been interested in cloud storage nor system interoperability because of their narrow vision and vested commercial interests. Vendors such as Volant/Brainlab have been moving aggressively into this space. Congress and the market will eventually force the healthcare industry to adopt interoperability and cloud storage but this will may well end up being too little too late. Physicians' pursuit of apps blended with cloud storage will probably be better satisfied by companies such as Voyant/Brainlab with products such as TraumaCad Mobile.