Mayo Clinic Studies Confirm Smartphones Are Sufficient For Telemedicine

by Zana Patrick Desgranges, MD, PhD, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Vigilias

Back in 2012, Dr. Demaerschalk of the Mayo Clinic published two groundbreaking studies in the medical journal Stroke that validated the use of smartphones for telemedicine in stroke care. Both studies relied on an iPhone 4 over 3G/4G networks. This technology is 4 years old and several generations behind.

The first study showed videoconferencing on iPhone 4 was as reliable as bedside evaluation for determining the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stroke scale for patient with stroke symptoms. The NIH stroke scale is a validated tool based on close physical examination that healthcare providers use to objectively quantify the impairment caused by a stroke, and to determine appropriate treatment with clot-busting medications. Also the study found there was high physician satisfaction with the smartphone.

Here is the link to the study.

The second study demonstrated that vascular neurologist interpretation of head CT scans (computed tomography) visualized on iPhone 4 is in excellent agreement with radiologist interpretation using a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), the current gold-standard imaging platform.

Here is the link to the second study.

In these studies the author noted two major limitations to performing telemedicine with a smartphone:

The smartphone had to be held by the exam assistant, making it challenging for the medical aide to simultaneously conduct and video record a complete exam.
The small screen on the smartphone could only be seen by the medical aide and not the patient, which could hinder the development of a necessary physician–patient relationship and rapport.

With the MITEE offering from Vigilias, we have addressed these limitations:

  • The smartphone is docked in normal mode, giving the exam assistant complete freedom to facilitate.
  • The patients can easily see their physician on a larger 15.6 inch screen.