Apple iPhone browses diagnostic heart images, conducts medical consultations

Heart Imaging Technologies (HeartIT) announced today that medical images can be viewed on Apple’s new iPhone. Physicians can simply click on a web link sent via email by one of their colleagues, enter their password, and, for example, instantly view movies of a patient’s beating heart halfway around the world. They can even put their colleagues on speakerphone and carry on a medical consultation while simultaneously browsing through the imaging results.

Viewing medical images traditionally requires dedicated workstations costing tens of thousands of dollars, which in turn are connected to proprietary picture archiving communications and storage (PACS) systems costing millions of dollars more. In order to view medical images, physicians must literally drive or walk to one of these workstations. Recent advances in World Wide Web browser technologies and the web sites that utilize their rich features, collectively referred to as Web 2.0, are challenging these expensive and cumbersome proprietary approaches.

Medical images displayed in a web browser have traditionally been of lower quality and therefore had limited diagnostic utility. This technology is the first to provide physicians with the ability to drill-down and view medical images, including movies, on a hand-held device.

“Patient privacy is obviously a critically-important issue on the internet,” said Brent Reed, HeartIT’s Director of Software Development, in the press release. “Fortunately, medical privacy concerns can be addressed using the same encryption technologies employed by online banking and credit card transactions.”

Heart Imaging Technologies’ headquarters are located near North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Formed in 2000, HeartIT provides web-based medical image management services and computing systems to regional health care systems, large hospitals and private clinics as well as drug and device companies sponsoring multi-center clinical trials. Worldwide, HeartIT’s systems currently provide secure web browser access to over 50 million medical images.

See examples here.


  1. You idiots! Don’t you see the importance in this? I see all of you laughing at the news release above. But it’s important for several reasons:

    1. You just got in a bad auto accident and have suffered severe head injuries. Your life hangs in the balance. But the neurologist who can make a life-or-death difference on your miserable life is on the golf course. By the time he gets back to look at your MRI, it could be too late. Instead, he could have MRI images forwarded to his iPhone, and on the spot, he could direct treatment that could save you. Consider that. Before the iPhone, there was simply no handheld with the graphics rendering abilities to make this possible.

    2. While you didn’t take the news release above seriously, obviously the healthcare industry, which is now the biggest industry in the nation, does. If you wanted a reason for an iPhone to be adopted by corporate IT Nazis, this is a very good one.

    Yes, I know. The iPhone might ostensibly be a consumer device. But forward thinking people in healthcare and other industries are quickly embracing what the iPhone can do. Microsoft does not have an answer to this yet. And probably won’t for a while.

    If you’re wondering why the iPhone is important, and why it will drive a lot of growth for Apple (are you with me, Apple stockholders?), it’s dull news releases like this that will lead the way.

    There. I feel better now.

  2. If the imaging is done using the h.264 codec, this will help in establishing that openly licensable standard and reduce the use of proprietary codecs on the web. BTW, this will also help the Apple TV platform in becoming mainstream. Apple is putting pressure on web sites to go with protocols and codecs open to all. They are defeating in detail Microsoft’s proprietary lock-in strategy.

  3. ☎rrrrrrrrrrrrrrring…rrrrrrrrrrrrrring…rrrrrrrrrrring…

    C1: Hello?
    iPhone ☮: ♯♫Hey Joe♬…I mean…♫Hey Chrissy♬, that you?
    C1: Ummm, yes…
    iPhone ☮: It’s me Jimmy…YOU ROCK ♬♬♬♩♩♩♬♬

  4. ..need help …can’t get out of this story ..tried so many times. little black sans serif letters running out of mouth and nose. Doctor on golf course with iPhone struck by lightening …I guess he didn’t read the one about iPods and thunderstorms …starting to defecate little blue and black fonts ..sans serif …not too bad. punctuation associated with letters ..interesting …need English professor with iPhone.

  5. You try and do that on a windows OS based mobile phone.

    It aint gonna happen baby!

    Yet again Apple’s innovative iPhone has proven to help businesses in ways never thought of before, and that could never have been even considered because of the crap functionality of ALL other mobile phones and devices.

    Apple’s iPhone now literally helps save lives!

    Your passion. everyones reality.™

  6. I bet the reason why the medical industry has embrased this is because of the fantastic finger ‘zoom in’ functionality – as demonstrated with personal photos.

    That, and the hi-res screen makes this an essential piece of gear for helping patients.

    btw @ Zune Tang:

    You my friend ARE PATHETIC.

    It must be really nice on your planet, all on your own with your Zune.

    If you seriously believe that the Zune is better than the iPhone then you really do have some serious issues to sort out in your fucked up head.

    My wife works in a hospital and this is revolutionary, all the consultants and experts are talking about this technology in the UK and I would be surprised if the medical industry in the UK buys 1000s of iphones based on this alone when it comes out in Europe.

    This technology SAVES LIVES – slightly more important than some botched iPod clone with an FM tuner I think!

    Your passion. everyones reality.™

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