Mobile app removes workstation handcuffs and keeps radiologists informed and productive, wherever they may be.

Whether they?re working in multiple locations or engaging with the patient as part of the interventional process, today?s radiologists are being pulled in all different directions. With this in mind, a new mobile solution from Merge Healthcare aims to unchain radiologists from their workstations and bring medical imaging to their fingertips.

eFilm Mobile will allow current users of the company?s popular eFilm Workstation, a widely used, downloadable DICOM viewer, to access worklists and studies from their iPhone or iPod touch.

As Tim Kulbago, Merge?s general manager, describes it, the application brings radiology out of the workstation and into your pocket. Kulbago talked about this feat with attendees at last year?s Radiological Society of North America meeting, where he asked radiologists how they would use the technology. What he was met with was ?a flood of excitement,? Kulbago recalled.

Roman Klufas, MD, president and director of New England Open MRI, was one of the physicians first introduced to the app at RSNA. Klufas admitted he was somewhat skeptical and wondered whether the mobile technology had the necessary speed to deliver information and images in a timely manner.

Merge?s eFilm Mobile lets users of eFilm Workstation access worklists and studies from their iPhone or iPod touch?anywhere, anytime.

After Merge released eFilm Mobile, Klufas said his doubts were put to rest. He specifically appreciates the product?s ability to interface with the eFilm Workstation in his office. ?It?s an amazingly useful product,? Klufas said. ?From wherever you are, you can simply log in and search through your iPhone. More importantly, you can look at the images that travel across the network at a reasonable speed.?

For nearly a decade, Klufas has trusted Merge Healthcare?s eFilm solution to fulfill the needs of his practice. ?It?s all integrated and all readily accessible so it improves the interpretation of images and provides all the information you really need to do a good job,? Klufas said. Now with eFilm Mobile, he welcomes the flexibility to answer simple questions on incidental findings away from the workstation. ?I depend upon my eFilm Workstation to get my reads done, but there are always time-sensitive studies that require immediate attention no matter where I am,? he said. ?eFilm Mobile will allow me to control eFilm from the palm of my hand, and direct eFilm to forward the study to a radiologist who is available to read the study on their diagnostic workstation, without disrupting whatever I am doing. It?s a huge timesaver.?

Klufas also said eFilm Mobile would enable him to direct technologists to the appropriate radiologists for a specific issue. These radiologists would then perform final interpretations on the regular workstations.

Kulbago noted that the mobile app is not cleared for diagnosis. The company is monitoring FDA actions very closely for decisions about the use of mobile and smart devices in diagnostic imaging.

Kulbago pointed out that eFilm Mobile not only merely displays images but also has the distributive functionality to act as a remote control. Specifically, it allows users to remote control their eFilm Workstation to send studies to another DICOM device, in addition to letting them view images and manipulate them with pan, zoom, and window-level options. The mobile app also permits multiple iPhone connections to an eFilm Workstation, as well as the ability to interact with and view worklists remotely and in real time. In this way, Kulbago believes it is very much a cutting-edge technology. ?It?s an extension of your eFilm Workstation on your iPhone,? Klufas agreed.

Commenting on practical uses of the app, Kulbago said eFilm Mobile can help to cut costs of making patients return to the imaging facility to redo imaging exams. In the past, if a radiologist was off-site, they would be forced to make a judgment call on whether a given image was adequate enough to allow a patient to leave, mostly based on the experience of the radiologist. eFilm Mobile would allow radiologists at another site or at home to respond more definitively by reviewing images on their phone. As a result, imaging facilities can prevent costly patient callback and improve patient satisfaction.

Kulbago also brought up the expanded opportunities for collaboration. Radiologists can push images to colleagues who specialize in certain areas. They do not need to wait until the fellow physician is back at the workstation in order to hear their opinion. Furthermore, a radiologist who travels to multiple clinics throughout the course of the day can use the remote control function to push an image from the eFilm Workstation at one site to the eFilm Workstation at another site.

Klufas said he sees great potential in how radiologists can engage with the referring community. ?I think in the future it will not only improve radiologist efficiency, but also one of the big potentials will be delivering images to the referring physicians who don?t need an image to make a diagnosis,? he said. ?Rather, they just want to get a picture of what is going on with their patient.? Additionally, rather than burning a CD and sending it to a referring physician, images can now be pushed to the phones of referrers. Patients too can replace film jackets and CDs with their iPhones, offering opportunity for easier management of their medical data.

In an effort to discover more practical applications of their new app, Merge has launched a submission form on its eFilm Community Web site ( Leveraging the knowledge base of its established eFilm user community, Merge encourages customers to post the creative ways in which they plan on using eFilm Mobile to improve their workflow.

Those who submit entries will be entered into a drawing for one of several new Apple iPad? devices. ?Our new application has such potential to effect major lifestyle change for radiologists and those involved in their workflow,? said Nancy Koenig, Merge president, ?that we expect our users will be able to post many useful tips for the rest of the eFilm community. This is an active and sophisticated group of users, and the feedback we?ve received so far from our development partners has been very exciting.?

The iPhone version of eFilm Mobile connects with 3G and wireless networks and is available on the Apple App Store?,

Kulbago foresees a warm reception to this application. ?With tens of thousands of downloads and licensed users worldwide, we?re expecting this to be something that the industry takes a really hard look at in terms of challenging the mobility of radiologists,? he said.

A free, 30-day trial of eFilm Workstation 3.3 is available for download at

Elaine Sanchez is a contributing writer for Axis Imaging News.