Interobserver variability of radiographic assessment using a mobile messaging application as a teleconsultation tool

Sezai Özkan, Jos J. Mellema, David C. Ring, Neal C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: To examine whether interobserver reliability, decision-making, and confidence in decision-making in the treatment of distal radius fractures changes if radiographs are viewed on a messenger application on a mobile phone compared to a standard DICOM viewer. Methods: Radiographs of distal radius fractures were presented to surgeons on either a smart phone using a mobile messenger application or a laptop using a DICOM viewer application. Twenty observers participated: 10 (50%) were randomly assigned to the DICOM viewer group and 10 (50%) to the mobile messenger group. Each observer was asked to evaluate the cases and (1) classify the fracture type according to the AO classification, (2) recommend operative or conservative treatment and (3) rate their confidence about this decision. Results: There was no significant difference in interobserver reliability for AO classification and recommendation for surgery for distal radius fractures in both groups. The percentage of recommendation for surgery was significantly higher in the messenger application group compared to the DICOM viewer group (89% versus 78%, P=0.019) and the confidence for treatment decision was significantly higher in the mobile messenger group compared to the DICOM viewer group (8.9 versus 7.9, P=0.026). Conclusion: Messenger applications on mobile phones could facilitate remote decision-making for patients with distal radius fractures, but should be used with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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